3 Ways To Fix Difficult Teeth Stains When Whitening Won't Work

Dental stains come in two main varieties: extrinsic and intrinsic. Extrinsic stains occur on the outside of the enamel due to drinking coffee, tea, or wine or smoking cigarettes. The extrinsic stains are fairly easy to treat with standard teeth whitening procedures. Intrinsic stains happen underneath the enamel due to medicinal side effects or cracks in the enamel. A teeth whitening procedure doesn't remove intrinsic dental stains.

There are a few different cosmetic dental services that can mask difficult teeth stains when whitening won't work.

Drilling and Sealant

Do your teeth have pits or grooves in the surface that have allowed stains to get through the enamel and settle into the textures? Your dentist might be able to remove the stains with some strategic drilling. The dentist will remove as little of the tooth as possible to take away the stain.

Depending on the severity and number of stains, you might need to follow up with a dental sealant to protect your teeth from sensitivity or further stain damage. Sealant is a plastic material that is painted onto the teeth wet and then hardened. The sealant isn't as strong as some of the other cosmetic dentistry options and should only be used if your tooth is in otherwise healthy condition.

Dental Crown

A dental crown might be a better solution than sealant if the intrinsic staining is extensive and your tooth has a secondary problem such as a deep cavity. The crown is an artificial shell crafted using an impression of your natural tooth. Your dentist will lightly sand the exterior of your tooth, apply a bio-cement, and then affix the dental crown.

Crowns are available in a few different materials but metal-backed porcelain crowns combine the most natural look with a strong backing. Porcelain alone can crack under repeated chewing force and metal alone looks obviously unnatural.

Bond or Veneer

Does your tooth have intrinsic staining and another major cosmetic issue such as a large chip? Your dentist might recommend a bond or veneer.

Dental bonds are made from a composite resin that your dentist can brush directly onto your sanded-down tooth. The resin is then made hard using a special light. Bonds can gently reshape a cracked or otherwise damaged tooth while also covering the stained enamel with a natural-colored resin.

If your tooth has more damage than a bond alone can cover, your dentist might recommend a veneer. Veneers operate similarly to a dental crown except, instead of covering the entire outside of the tooth, the veneer shell is bonded directly to the front of the tooth. The placement allows your dentist to reshape or resize the front of your tooth while also covering the stain.

Bonds and veneers have one key difference that matters if you are prone to tooth staining. The resin of bonds can stain like natural teeth but, like intrinsic staining, can't be corrected with whitening. Porcelain veneers are more stain resistant.