Stains, Stains Go Away: Extrinsic vs Intrinsic Staining


intrinsic vs extrinsic staining

Your smile is one of the first things people look at and can give you confidence. So it’s no wonder that people continue to seek out the perfect white smile. Unfortunately, teeth can darken and become yellow over time due to age, eating and smoking habits as well as dental conditions, which can cause extrinsic and intrinsic stains. While extrinsic and intrinsic stains can be treated by teeth whitening services, likes those performed at Dr Levi’s, it’s important to know the difference between these two types of tooth stains and how they can be prevented and treated.

Extrinsic Tooth Stains

Extrinsic staining is the most familiar type of dental discolouration. It refers to the staining of the outer layer of your tooth enamel. Extrinsic staining is the result of oral contact with dark-coloured substances. Common causes of extrinsic stains include:

  • Red wine
  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Tobacco (smoking or chewing)
  • Dark vegetables such as carrots or beetroot
  • Pigment-heavy fruits like berries
  • Soft drinks like Coke
  • Colourful spices such as turmeric or curry paste
  • Brightly coloured lollies

How To Avoid Extrinsic Stains

To prevent extrinsic stains you should practice proper oral hygiene, which includes brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing your teeth regularly and attending dentist check-ups every 6 months. You can also prevent discoloration at the surface of your enamel by:

  • Limiting your consumption of dark-coloured foods and drinks
  • Not smoking or chewing tobacco
  • Using a straw to sip darker beverages and minimise the exposure to your teeth.
  • Remembering to drink water after consuming dark food or beverages
  • Chew sugar-free gum to remove the staining materials from your mouth

Intrinsic Tooth Stains

Intrinsic tooth stains occur deeper within the tooth’s structure. Intrinsic stains can give your tooth a yellow or grey tint. There are many potential causes of this type of discolouration, including:

  • Tiny dental fractures or small cracks in your tooth‚Äôs enamel
  • Medications like tetracycline antibiotics, which can turn your teeth grey
  • Dental trauma caused by bleeding within the tooth or pulp infection (which would require root canal therapy)
  • Decay and weakened enamel
  • The overuse of fluoride
  • Hereditary conditions that cause people to develop purple, grey or orange stains

How To Avoid Intrinsic Stains

Reduce your risk of developing intrinsic stains by:

  • Practising proper oral hygiene
  • Limiting your use of tetracycline antibiotics, fluoride, or other chemicals
  • Wearing a mouth guard when playing sports, avoid eating hard foods, and taking other precautions to prevent dental injury
  • Visiting your dentist for routine check-ups. Dr Levi can examine your teeth for fractures, enamel erosion, decay, and other conditions that could make you vulnerable to intrinsic staining.

Dr Levi Can Help

Professional teeth whitening is a highly effective solution on both extrinsic and intrinsic tooth stains. At Dr Levi’s, we provide three safe and effective whitening treatments that will ensure your treatment is catered to your needs.

For patients with particularly dark intrinsic discoloration or stubborn extrinsic stains, Dr Levi may recommend alternative whitening treatments, such as porcelain veneers, thin shells that cover the front of your teeth to hide any cosmetic imperfections.

If your tooth is decayed, cracked, or damaged as well as stained, Dr Levi may suggest placing a dental crown to restore it while simultaneously providing a whiter finish. Whatever the solution, you can expect to leave with a bright white smile.

To keep your smile looking its best, call us on (02) 9283 1900 or contact us via our form to enquire about our highly effective treatments or receive more information.