Teeth Staining: All Your Questions Answered

If you’ve noticed your teeth growing yellow, dull, or discolored, you’re normal. This common tooth problem affects everyone at some point during their lifetime. To successfully brighten and whiten your teeth, it’s crucial to know what’s behind your staining.

At Blakeney Dental, Dr. Mark B. Ranzinger and our dental team in Charlotte, North Carolina, offer several cosmetic solutions to help brighten and whiten your teeth. Not only do we have answers to your questions about tooth staining, but we can help you restore your smile today.

Why teeth become stained

There are two kinds of tooth discoloration: intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic staining occurs when changes inside your tooth cause the discoloration. When you have extrinsic staining, it develops on the outside surface of your tooth -- or enamel.

You can also have a combination of intrinsic and extrinsic discoloration. 

The causes of intrinsic staining

This type of discoloration typically develops because of trauma or disease in your tooth that allows dentin to become more obvious. Dentin is the yellow or brownish layer of tissue underneath your enamel. Your enamel also grows thinner as you age, which can allow more dentin to show through.

Certain medications, including antihistamines, high blood pressure pills, and chemotherapy, can also cause intrinsic tooth staining.

What causes extrinsic staining

Extrinsic staining occurs because of buildup on the outside of your tooth, especially from pigmented foods and drinks. Common substances that can stain your enamel include:

Smoking or chewing tobacco can also cause extrinsic staining because they contain nicotine and tar, substances that easily penetrate the pores of your enamel. 

Can I keep my teeth from staining?

You can’t prevent all tooth discoloration, especially age-related issues caused by intrinsic factors. But you can take steps to minimize extrinsic staining, including:

Scheduling regular dental cleanings with a professional can also reduce staining and protect your oral health. 

How can I fix my stained teeth?

There are several ways to fix stained teeth. Based on the level of staining and its cause, we might recommend a dental cleaning, whitening, or veneers. 

Dental cleaning

Sometimes your teeth just need a good cleaning. For minor staining, this approach can eliminate surface stains along with plaque and tartar buildup, which can give your teeth a yellowed appearance.

Teeth whitening

One of the easiest ways to improve the appearance of your smile is through professional teeth whitening treatments. At our practice, we rely on Zoom!®, a safe and effective solution that can lighten teeth up to eight shades in a single office visit. 


If you have intrinsic staining, it may not respond to professional teeth whitening, but that doesn’t mean you’re stuck with the discoloration. We also offer custom veneers. This cosmetic dental solution eliminates the appearance of staining by concealing the surface of your tooth with a thin layer of porcelain. 

If you have tooth staining, we have solutions. Contact us by calling 980-289-0664 or by booking an appointment online today.

You Might Also Enjoy...

What to Expect After a Tooth Extraction

Do you need a tooth removed? Learn more about what you can expect after a tooth extraction, such as healing time and typical after-care activities so you can have the best recovery possible.

What Kind of Denture Is Best for You?

Missing teeth can have an impact on your self-confidence and overall health. Dentures are a comprehensive solution to missing teeth, which is why choosing the right type of denture for your case is important.

Failed Root Canal: What Are My Options?

A root canal is supposed to save a damaged or severely decayed tooth, but sometimes even routine procedures are unsuccessful for a number of reasons. Here are your options after a failed root canal.

Oral Care Tips for Patients With Diabetes

If you have diabetes, you have a higher chance of developing oral health problems. But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do about it. Read on to learn how diabetes can affect your oral health and how you can keep your mouth healthy.