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Is Your Dental Discoloration A Stain Or Cavity?

When you notice discoloration on your teeth, you may immediately be concerned that it indicates the presence of a cavity. However, not every case of dental discoloration means you are developing a cavity. There are numerous reasons why discoloration may appear on the teeth. Knowing how to tell them apart can spell the difference between an emergency dental visit and a trip to the pharmacy. We put together this guide to help you determine if it’s time to see the team at Alameda Dental Group.

Is Your Dental Discoloration A Stain Or Cavity?

When dental enamel begins to degrade as part of tooth decay, it’s the first step to developing a cavity. Cavities can be very worrying and uncomfortable, as they represent a vulnerability in your tooth. Further, these gaps can develop into holes that give bacteria, sugars, acids, and other irritants direct access to your soft dental and living pulp. Dental discoloration is often mistaken for tooth decay due to decay often producing cloudy white, dark gray, or black spots on your enamel. These spots represent weaknesses in your enamel resulting from demineralization. So far as no enamel has been lost, it’s often possible to reverse decay. However, lost enamel cannot be replaced. The reasons for tooth decay include the following:

  • Poor Dental Hygiene – Keeping up with a consistent dental hygiene routine is the only way to ensure you keep tooth decay at bay. 
  • Sugary Diets – If you consume a lot of acidic or sugary foods (like soda), then you’re providing an ample food source for bacteria.
  • Disease – Some diseases can increase the likelihood of developing cavities and otherwise impact your oral health.

Dental staining, however, doesn’t typically indicate any risk of tooth decay. Instead, this condition results from coming into contact with dark-colored foods and beverages or engaging in other vices such as smoking. While your teeth can become discolored for many reasons, they’re generally separated into two categories. Extrinsic spots form on the enamel’s exterior and are generally the easiest to treat. Inherent dental staining, on the other hand, is more difficult to eliminate. This type of staining happens within the core of the tooth, often impacting the denting and inner layers. Unlike extrinsic staining, inherent staining can indicate a serious risk to your oral health. Furthermore, while extrinsic staining can often be treated with over-the-counter approaches, inherent typically requires clinical care to eliminate.

Call us Today To Find Out If It’s Just A Stain

It can be tricky for the untrained eye to determine if that discoloration on your teeth is the beginning of a cavity or just dental staining. Coming to see the team at Alameda Dental Group is a good idea for either. We can provide treatment options that can help combat tooth decay and restore any damage that’s been done by tooth disease. Further, we have options for reducing the severity of dental staining and can also address inherent staining through our range of treatment options. Call us today at (323) 585-9200 to schedule your next visit to Alameda Dental Group in Alameda, CA.

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