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Which Stains Teeth Whitening Can Remove And Those It Can't

Which Stains Teeth Whitening Can Remove And Those It Can't

For those who want a brighter, whiter smile, tooth whitening is a popular and effective way to achieve this. Teeth tend to stain from exposure to dark, acidic food and drink, such as coffee and red wine. Tobacco is also another common cause of tooth discolouration. Since the outer layer of the tooth is porous, the stains can get into the tiny little holes of the tooth and they can’t be merely brushed away. This is why people opt for professional teeth whitening, as it opens up the pores, cleans the stain, and then the pores gradually close. While this is an incredibly effective way to eliminate food, drink, or tobacco-based stains, there are some stains that teeth whitening cannot remove.

Causes Of Staining

Extrinsic And Intrinsic Stains
Your teeth are made of layers: the enamel, the dentin, and the pulp. 

  • The enamel is the incredibly hard outermost part of the tooth that shows to the world. This is the part that is addressed during a whitening treatment. This area may be stained with food, drink, or tobacco stains, all of which can be removed with professional tooth whitening. All of the stains on this outermost part of the tooth are called extrinsic stains. Despite how it may appear, the enamel is slightly translucent instead of solid white. 
  • The dentin is the layer under the enamel, and this layer is slightly more yellow and softer than the enamel. Because the enamel is slightly translucent, the dentin of the teeth can be seen a little bit, although it typically just appears as white underneath the enamel. If this layer of dentin has any discolouration, however, it can show through the enamel and make the tooth appear stained. This is called an intrinsic stain, as it is a stain within the tooth.
  • Finally, there is the pulp layer, which contains nerve endings. This layer of the tooth does not show and will not affect the appearance of the tooth.

Some Medication Induced Stains
Some forms of medication, including some types of antibiotics, can lead to discolouration in the structure of the teeth over time. While this staining is not an indicator of negative health impacts, the stains are not removable since they are happening in the dentin of the tooth instead of on the outermost layer. Sometimes the tooth discolouration will go away if the type of medication is switched or is otherwise no longer in use.

Damaged Teeth
Internal damage or decay is not something that can be removed with whitening. Because it is an internal issue, surface-level cleaning will not fix it. If your tooth is discoloured on the inside, it can be an indication of other oral or medical issues and you should schedule a dental exam to assess the damage. Sometimes damaged teeth and staining go together, as people who smoke often have tobacco stained teeth that are easily cleaned, however, smoking that causes tooth and gum disease may also cause intrinsic staining that cannot be cleaned.

Teeth Whitening At Marlborough Dental Centre In Calgary

If you are interested in removing food stains to get a brighter smile, visit the teeth whitening specialists at Marlborough Dental Centre in NE Calgary. Our teeth whitening process is a fast, safe treatment that yields long-lasting results that will keep you smiling. With the use of the advanced Britesmile Teeth Whitening System, we can whiten your teeth in just one office visit! Whether you want to know if your tooth stains are intrinsic or extrinsic or if you are ready to start your teeth whitening now, book an appointment with Marlborough Dental Centre by calling 1-403-248-2066 or by filling out the online contact form.


Q: Is teeth whitening bad for your teeth?
A: No, getting your teeth professionally whitened does not damage the enamel.

Q: How long is a teeth whitening procedure?
A: A professional teeth whitening treatment performed by your dentist will take anywhere from 60 minutes to 90 minutes depending on the products your dentist uses and your individual whitening needs. Your individual whitening needs will be based on how good your dental hygiene is and how white you would like your smile to be.

Q: Does whitening toothpaste work?
A: Yes, whitening toothpaste can help to extend the life of your professional whitening treatment, but does not fully replace the effect of the whitening agent applied during a cosmetic dental procedure like professional whitening.

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