Cavity Vs Stain: How Do They Differ?

Stains can appear similar to cavities. Many people confuse cavities with stains. Therefore, this results in delayed treatment. That’s why understanding “Cavity vs stain” is important. So, you know when to see your dentist before the bacteria creates more mess for you to restore.

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    What Are Tooth Stains?

    Tooth stains are discolorations that make teeth look less white or bright. There are three main types:

    • Extrinsic Stains

    These stains are on the surface of the tooth enamel. These usually occur due to pigmented food and drinks or tobacco products. Common causes include coffee, tea, red wine, berries, and smoking.

    • Intrinsic Stains

    These stains occur below the tooth enamel and are harder to remove. Causes include certain medications, too much fluoride, tooth decay, and trauma to the tooth.

    • Age-Related Stains

    As we age, the outer enamel layer wears down. It reveals the yellowish dentin layer underneath. This, combined with extrinsic and intrinsic stains, causes discoloration in many adults.

    What Are Cavities?

    Cavities are holes or permanent damage to the hard surface of a tooth. Their causes include:

    • Acid-producing bacteria in the mouth that eats away at the tooth enamel over time.
    • Frequent snacking and drinking sugary or acidic beverages feed the bacteria and help them produce more acid.
    • Not brushing and flossing well lets plaque buildup and allows acids to keep damaging the enamel.

    Cavity Vs Stain on Teeth

    The main differences between tooth stains and cavities are:

    • Permanence

    Tooth Stains: Temporary discolorations on the surface of the teeth.

    Cavities: Permanent damage to the tooth structure.

    • Appearance

    Tooth Stains: Affect the entire tooth or multiple teeth, causing widespread discoloration.

    Cavities: Appear as localized spots or holes, often brown, black, or gray.

    • Symptoms

    Tooth Stains: Do not cause pain or sensitivity.

    Cavities: Can trigger tooth pain, sensitivity to hot/cold, and visible holes or pits.

    • Causes

    Tooth Stains: Pigmented foods, drinks, tobacco, and poor oral hygiene.

    Cavities: Tooth decay, where bacteria produce acids that erode the tooth enamel over time.

    • Treatment

    Tooth Stains: Brushing, whitening toothpaste or professional dental cleanings.

    Cavities: Require professional dental treatment like fillings, crowns, or root canals to repair the damaged tooth structure.

    In short, stains and cavities can look similar. However, stains are superficial and reversible, while cavities represent permanent damage that requires professional dental intervention.

    How to Prevent Teeth from Stains and Cavities?

    Regular dental cleanings are an all-rounder treatment that helps you prevent both cavities and stains. The following is how they do it:

    • Dental cleaning removes plaque and tartar.
    • They clean difficult areas which are too tricky for your toothbrush to reach.
    • Professional cleanings detect early signs of decay.
    • They allow your dentist to monitor your oral health.

    Questions About Cavity Vs Stain: How Do They Differ??

    What Our Patients Say

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    Love the staff and dentists at this office. Incredibly kind! Always willing to work with you trying to figure out the best option. They are so knowledgeable and thorough. Dr Cabrera is patient and professional and has treated me on time every time. I wish more doctors’ office were run like this.
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    Dr Sauceda is very patient and always makes a big effort to assist his patients no matter the circumstance. If anyone is in need of an implant specialist or denture specialist (dual board certified) in Pearland, he is your go to doctor!!
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    Wrapping Up

    Tooth stains, especially the black ones and cavities, carry the same look. That’s why knowing the basis of cavity vs stain helps prevent any serious issues from occurring.

    Visit us at Dental Specialists of Pearland. Our expert dentists will examine and provide you with the treatments that fully restore your oral health. Call us at (713) 436-7697 to book an appointment today.

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