Analyzing Tooth Stains

thstnsYou may hold the opinion that all teeth can be whitened, but that’s not true. There are different types of tooth stains, some respond well to tooth whitening whether it is an over-the-counter whitening kit or whether it is a professional whitening. Other stains do not respond to whitening at all. If your teeth do not respond to whitening don’t despair. You can restore your smile with cosmetic bonding or dental veneers. Before deciding upon whitening or a different dental treatment, learn how to analyze your tooth stains.

Do You Have Intrinsic Stains or Extrinsic Stains?

If your teeth are extrinsically stained that means they will probably respond well to tooth whitening procedures. Extrinsic stains are external. They are on the outside surface of your tooth enamel. These types of stains are commonly caused by the foods you eat, the beverages you drink, and whether or not you smoke or chew tobacco. Tobacco use can cause brown or blackish tar deposits on your teeth. Beverages such as coffee, tea, cranberry juice, and red wine can stain your teeth. Foods such as tomato sauce, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, blueberries, beets, and curry can also stain teeth.

Intrinsic stains do not respond well to whitening because they are on the inside of your teeth. In other words, the dentin of your tooth is what is discolored and your tooth dentin cannot be whitened. Such stains are usually caused by medications such as certain antibiotics, antihistamines, blood pressure medications, and fluoride:

Fluoride: Ingesting too much fluoride at a young age can result in tooth enamel being streaked white. This condition is called fluorosis.

Tetracycline: Is known for causing intrinsic tooth stains in babies before birth and in children under eight. Teeth stained by tetracycline have a greenish, brownish, or grayish hue.

Antihistamines and blood pressure medications can stain teeth from the inside.


With over 25 years of professional experience, Dr. Steven M. Huffstutler and his caring team proudly provide exceptional preventive, cosmetic, and restorative dental treatment to patients and their families across Dallas/Ft. Worth, including North Richland Hills, Denton, the Mid-cities, Southlake, and all surrounding communities. We also have extensive experience helping patients find relief from painful TMJ disorders (various forms of jaw dysfunction). To schedule an appointment with Dr. Huffstutler, contact our office today by calling 817-918-3038.