Dental stains is a very common issue that happens to everyone. There have been many home remedies tried over the millennium; previously Egyptians had used ground pumice and vinegar.

Which they were on to something in a way. The pumice would be advantageous to remove superficial stain(s); however in some cases if the pumice is to high of grit or used to often it can actually cause damage to the tooth. The vinegar in a sense would work as it is acidic, which could help to remove stain(s) but again in some cases the acidity could damage the tooth. While in practice these strategies would have provided some stain relief the process has become much more refined today.

Nowadays, bleaching is the main way to lighten and remove stain from teeth. The active ingredient in bleaching systems is hydrogen peroxide(H2O2); this does not cause any structural damage to the teeth. However, as time goes on the bleaching agent will cause some temporary sensitivity. This is occurring because the bleaching agent is causing a change in the dentine (the middle layer of the tooth); which then causes the nerve to fire and feel sensitive.

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Different Types of Dental Stains

The main type of stain is extrinsic stain or stains cause mainly by food, drinks and habits (such as smoking). Some of the main players would be tea, coffee, red wine, and cigarettes.

The other type of stain would be intrinsic stain; this is general as a result of the developing tooth structure has a development issue. For example, too much fluoride (some is good, too much not so good) can cause fluorosis and the teeth appear motley-white.

Another example is tetracycline staining; which if the antibiotic tetracycline is taken during the development stages of the teeth it can incorporate into the structure causing a banding discoloration.

Intrinsic stains generally do not respond well to typical in-chair or take home bleaching. These types of cases are best assessed by our doctors on a per individual basis to find the best result.

How Do I Prevent Dental Stains?

Oral Hygiene: Good at home care is essential, brushing twice a day as well as flossing will generally help to remove day-to-day superficial staining.

Diet: It is OK to have tea, coffee and wine etc. Slow sipping throughout the day increases the exposure and risk for staining. However if you do use any of these, or other staining items frequently there are some tricks you can do to avoid or bypass the staining agents.

⇒ Rinse with water after consumption

  • Use a straw
  • Brush (lightly) after consumption
  • Use Tooth Mousse regularly

Treatment for Dental Stains

In most cases a professional scale and clean can remove the bulk of stains. Often, tar tar and calculus can stain at an advanced rate compared to general tooth enamel. A scale and clean will remove the tar tar and calculus helping leave the tooth cleaner and less stained.

If the discoloration is a little bit deeper; then this is when a bleaching agent is the best. What is happening is the hydrogen peroxide is a very small molecule and it is able to get into the enamel matrix. Once in the enamel matrix the hydrogen peroxide binds to stains and breaks them down. It then itself breaks down to water and air naturally release from the teeth. Usually teeth whitening in chair will be about 30-45 minutes. In some cases some follow up treatment may be needed or take home bleaching may be provided.

If you would like more information regarding dental special tests or you are experiencing dental pain, please do not hesitate to contact Skygate Dental today on (07) 3114 1199 or 0406 579 197.