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Dental stains do not affect your oral health, but they can certainly make you hesitate to smile. There are many treatments that can brighten your smile, depending on the type of stains affecting your teeth.

Types of Dental Stains

  • Extrinsic—stains affecting the enamel (the outermost layer of the tooth) are easiest to treat.
  • Intrinsic—when the dentin (tissue between the enamel and pulp) becomes stained, concealment is usually the best treatment.
  • Age-Related—enamel can become worn and dentin becomes yellowed over time. This combination gives teeth a darker color.

A Closer Look at what Causes Stains

  • Foods—many common foods and condiments, including tomato sauce, red and white wine, mustard, berries, tea, coffee, and soda cause stains over time.
  • Meds and Supplements—children 8 and younger can develop stains as tetracycline (an antibiotic) bonds to calcium in developing teeth. Ingesting large amounts of fluoride can result in brown dental stains.
  • Nicotine—when nicotine combines with oxygen, it turns yellow. Over the years, nicotine can stain enamel and the outer layers of dentin.
  • Genetics—some of us are born with darker teeth, while others are born with weak enamel that can stain easily.

If you choose to use a bleaching product, you should only do so after consultation with a dentist. This is especially important for patients with many fillings, crowns, and extremely dark stains.

American Dental Association

John F. Rink DDS, AAACD

How to Avoid Dental Stains

  • Brush after Meals—it is difficult to completely avoid foods that cause stains. Brushing immediately after meals or at least rinsing your mouth with water can curb staining.
  • Use a Straw—it's not the ideal way to enjoy every beverage, but if you indulge in tea, iced coffee, or cola, a straw can help keep your teeth bright.
  • Stop Using Nicotine—quitting nicotine use of any kind is advisable for many reasons, but it can also help you avoid dental stains.

Which Type of Stain is Affecting my Teeth?

Two Key Assessments:

  1. The Appearance of Your Teeth—dentists can often identify stain types just by looking at the tooth. Extrinsic stains are often yellow or yellowish-brown, and cover the tooth. Intrinsic stains are often localized, looking like an isolated patch.
  2. Medical History—teeth that have undergone a root canal will often develop intrinsic stains over time. If you were exposed to tetracycline in utero or in early childhood, or if you grew up in an area with heavily fluoridated water, this probably means your stains are intrinsic.

Solutions for Teeth Staining

Teeth Whitening

If you have extrinsic stains, whitening treatment supervised by a dentist is the best way to achieve a brighter smile. Your doctor may also recommend internal bleaching after a root canal.

Porcelain Veneers

If you have intrinsic stains or if you don't qualify for whitening, you can conceal your stains with custom porcelain shells that attach to the front of your teeth.

Dental Bonding

Bonding is an affordable alternative to veneers. It involves applying resin to a tooth in a way that hides imperfections and looks natural.

Dental Crowns

If you have severe intrinsic staining resulting from a root canal or another factor, a dental crown may be the best solution.

Dental stains can rob you of your confidence. The good news is that there are many ways to address this issue and achieve beautiful, natural-looking results. Talk to your dentist today about illuminating your smile.

Practice Policy Update Regarding COVID-19 View Update

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To Our Wonderful Family of Patients:

Last night, my wife Connie and I enjoyed the most delicious take-out dinner from FIG restaurant. As always, the food was excellent; however, it was most satisfying to see the local restaurant, along with others, begin its comeback. Our resilient city feels like it is coming back to life—parks are opening and folks and families are enjoying the wonderful spring Charleston air. The Rink dental team is, too, readying itself for the next chapter of practicing dentistry as the community begins reopening its doors.

We are concentrating on continuing to advance our rock-solid foundation of state-of-the-art infection control. We were blessed to keep our dedicated and passionate team employed during the crisis, and have devoted the entire month of April to research, systematically developing, purchasing and installing the best additional infection control protocols and equipment available. We are ready. This month we will begin the process of a “soft opening” of our practice. What this means for our patients is a resumption of the same excellent restorative, esthetic, and preventive care in the safest and most secure environment available anywhere.

Additional safety steps will include asking our patients to wait for their appointments in their cars rather than in the reception area. We will ask that you take a moment to fill out a short questionnaire upon your arrival regarding your health and recent travels. We will take everyone’s temperature (including the team) with a forehead scanner as you enter the practice. We will clean and disinfect all touchpoints in the office in between each patient. We have procured the highest quality KN95 masks and face shields for the staff and have carefully researched and purchased the most advanced aerosol containment and purification systems available for the safety of all our patients. These are a few examples of how we have added additional layers of protection for your and our staff’s benefit.

Finally, I wholly understand that each one of you is an individual with specific desires, needs, and comfort levels. I want you to know that we are here to actively listen to you and to create the best environment for your emotional health. Some will be ready sooner than others to receive care again at our office. Let’s keep the lines of communication open and please know that our relationship with you and your family is our highest priority.

We look forward to reuniting with everyone but until that time it is our wish that you enjoy good health, good spirits, and peace.

To your optimal dental health,

- John F. Rink, DDS, AAACD and team

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