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Is Your Smile Aging You?-Part 2Yellow or dark teeth

Posted Sep 11 2008 5:53pm

Age Change #2—Yellow or dark teeth

Why —several reasons. First the outer layer of the tooth, enamel is slightly porous allowing food and liquids such as tea, coffee, and wine to be absorbed into the sub-surface areas. Second, the enamel starts to thin with wear slowing the inner yellowier dentin layer of the tooth to show more. Lastly, the innermost portion of the tooth, the pulp, shrinks in size leaving a more layer. Note: none of these changes can be improved with a professional cleaning or brushing alone.

How it ages you— Yellow and dark teeth have been proven in mass questionnaires done by social psychologist to be an indicator of low socioeconomic status. Sexual attraction is lower and perception of success is diminished.

How to fix it. Bleaching is the answer in many cases—but not all! Teeth that are yellow tend to lighten the best, and gray or brown are more difficult. Results vary by the patient, and compliance is essential. There are several treatment options with take home Dr. dispensed the most popular. For patients wishing faster results or darker stains, an in-office session may be recommended. Very mild cases may even be treated with “over-the-counter” products. The “tougher” cases or teeth with highly colors may alternatively with more advanced porcelain restorations or crowns. For those patients who do lighten, periodic touch-up are recommended to assure that the color does not revert to the previous color.

What it’s like —Modern dentist has several methods available to lighten and brighten the smile.

1) Custom made applicator tray can be made in the dental office. These are very thin (0.2 mm) and clear. They are comfortable to wear and are used once a day for about 30 to 60 minutes. These are no degradation to the existing tooth, or any increased susceptibility to decay or wear. Some people experience a short lasting sensitivity to cold that usually quickly diminishes. Due to the stronger strengths of the professional systems, the process should be monitored by the office

One big advantage of custom trays is that they can be e-used” once a month to keep the improved color change intact... Touch-up kits are available through the dental office.

2) In-office power lightening—This is great for individuals requiring a faster result, don’t like the idea of using trays daily, or are starting with a darker color. With these systems the dental office isolates the teeth from the gums using a special “paint-on” liquid, and applies incrementally a powerful lightening solution. Some systems are self-activated and some are light activated.

3) Over-the-counter agents—these are highly variable in the way they can be applied. Check with individual manufacter. Typically the solution is not as concentrated or able to be effectively applied for as long as the professional system. They are best reserved for people not able to afford the professional systems, or require a minimal color change.

See our photo gallery for more information on veneers, cosmetics, and gum lifts

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