Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic Discoloration

Did you know that there are actually two very different types of teeth stain? At Calcagno Cosmetic and Family Dentistry, we assess the cause of your discoloration in order to recommend the most appropriate treatment option. We have a number of options to treat both intrinsic and extrinsic discoloration.

What is Intrinsic Discoloration?

Intrinsic stains refer to discoloration that actually forms below the surface of the tooth, in the dentin. They can be caused by a number of factors, including fluorosis, injury to the tooth that causes blending beneath the enamel, and the use of certain medications, such as tetracycline. This form of discoloration often responds poorly to traditional whitening methods or over-the-counter options.

What is Extrinsic Discoloration?

Extrinsic stains form on the surface of the teeth and are one of the most common types. These stains can be caused by smoking or tobacco use, consuming foods high sugar, and drinks with dark pigments, such as soda, tea, red wine, and coffee. Surface stains typically respond well to most teeth whitening solutions and routine dental care (brushing, flossing, and dental cleanings) can often reduce the severity of future surface stains.

How Do I Remove Teeth Stains?

We offer an option that can erase extrinsic stains and address minor intrinsic discoloration. The procedure begins with an office visit in which we perform an initial treatment. The patient then returns home with whitening trays and a bleaching gel. For a week to ten days the patient will wear the gel-filled trays for a set amount of time. Afterward, the patient returns for a final treatment. Many people obtain a smile brightened by multiple shades. We can also mask intrinsic stains by placing porcelain veneers onto the front of the teeth. If you have any questions about our teeth whitening options then please contact our office today.


Calcagno Cosmetic and Family Dentistry offer expert services including dental implants, Six Month Smiles, pediatric dentistry, root canals, and teeth whitening in Rochester MN. To Contact us, please call (507) 218-8936. Dr. Gilly Calcagno and Dr. Kara Heimer welcome and serve patients from Rochester, Red Wing, St. Charles, Winona, Farmington, Austin, and the surrounding communities.