Can you help me understand the different types of stains in teeth? I would like to know the difference between intrinsic and extrinsic stains. Also, if you would explain exogenous vs. endogenous stains, that would be helpful, too.
Based on your university e-mail address and your question, it sounds like you’re studying some aspect of dentistry. Although we usually don’t receive questions from students—and our primary function is to answer patients’ questions—we will help.
The terms you mentioned help categorize teeth stains, and they usually are mentioned in an academic or clinical setting. Although practicing cosmetic dentists refer to intrinsic and extrinsic stains, it’s unlikely that you’ll hear the terms exogenous or endogenous mentioned in a dental office.
Four Types of Teeth Stains
- Location: Stains on the surface of your teeth are extrinsic.
- Tobacco use
- Naturally occurring bacteria in a child’s mouth as teeth are developing
- Peridex mouthwash
- Treatment: Milder extrinsic stains can be removing with brushing. Whitening toothpaste may help. A professional dental cleaning removes stubborn stains, and so can Supersmile toothpaste.
- Location: Stains that are absorbed into your tooth structure are intrinsic. It takes a long time for them to develop. And they are usually a shade of brown or yellow.
- Many years of drinking coffee or tea
- High consumption of pigmented fruits, such as raspberries
- Treatment: Teeth bleaching treatment
- Location: Exogenous stains can appear on the surface of your teeth or within the tooth structure.
- Causes: External sources or outside agents
- Treatment: Brushing, dental hygiene appointments, or teeth bleaching
- Location: Deeply embedded within teeth
- Causes: Usually, the stains are caused by external sources while a child’s teeth are developing. The culprits are usually are the antibiotic tetracycline or consuming too much fluoride. Some teeth have dark natural pigmentation.
- Treatment: Although tetracycline stains might respond to bleaching, dentists usually recommend porcelain veneers. Fluorosis stains are treated with veneers because bleaching will make teeth blotchy. Bleaching treats dark natural pigmentation. Persistent bleaching treatments will lighten the natural pigmentation of your teeth.
This post is sponsored by Hoffman Estates pediatric dentist, Dr. William Becker, of Poplar Crossing Dental.