How To Determine If It’s A Stain or The Start Of A Cavity

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If you’ve ever looked in the mirror and found yourself concerned about the color of your teeth, this article is for you. Dental discoloration can be a relatively harmless result of protein stains forming on and in your surface enamel. However, it can also indicate that you’re currently developing a cavity. Being able to tell the difference is essential to know whether you need to visit our office immediately or can wait until your next bi-annual visit. Even those who keep up with regular dental hygiene practices can find themselves experiencing dental staining due to various factors. Some patients have more porous enamel prone to becoming discolored; others have dietary habits or other vices that contribute to the discoloration of the enamel. Here at Desert Pearl Dentistry, we’re ready to help you determine if it’s a stain or cavity and provide effective treatment.

How To Determine If It’s A Stain or The Start Of A Cavity

Considering that many people believe that only bright white enamel indicates healthy teeth, it’s no surprise they become concerned about discoloration. Dental staining isn’t always a health issue and can often be ignored without lasting consequences for your oral health. However, immediate action is necessary in those instances where it does indicate the presence of a forming cavity. There are also cases where discoloration in your tooth can indicate something serious occurring underneath. Regardless of the numerous reasons dental staining can occur, they are broadly separated into two categories.

  • Extrinsic Staining – This form of staining occurs on the surface of your teeth. It’s often the result of protein stains forming in the enamel, typically from food sources. However, it’s also possible for this staining to be caused by specific health problems or vices such as tobacco use. Thankfully, this is also the easiest type of dental staining to treat. In mild cases, it can even be handled with over-the-counter products. Stubborn stains can be addressed with the help of our team as part of our dental whitening services.
  • Inherent Staining – This form of staining is more worrying. Inherent staining happens within the tooth, often in the pulp or soft dentin. It can indicate the presence of infection or decay or may only result from advancing age. This staining is more difficult to address, often requiring concealing through cosmetic bonding or veneers. Other forms of treatment are also available.

Cavities also make their presence known through discoloration. However, most of the above instances of staining are fairly broad, impacting most or all of the tooth’s surface. Conversely, cavities will be dark white, gray, or black spots on the tooth, often forming on the “neck” of the tooth or near the root. If you see this discoloration on your tooth, schedule an appointment with us immediately.

See The Desert Pearl Dentistry Team For Help

If you’re concerned about the color of your teeth, call (760) 568-0130 to schedule an appointment. We’ll welcome you to our office and perform a complete dental exam. During this exam, we’ll discuss your concerns, identify the source of your staining, and provide options for effective treatment plans!

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Desert Pearl Dentistry office

We recognize that our patients are unique individuals with specific needs. With every patient that walks into our office, we look to build a trusting relationship that will last a lifetime. You will play an active role in your treatment and your voice heard when you have questions or concerns.

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Phone: (760) 568-0130
Email: [email protected]

72000 Magnesia Falls Drive, Ste. 1