A quick peek at your photo album or those family portraits on the wall offer a heartfelt and sometimes amusing trip down memory lane. You might wonder what possessed you to get that haircut or wear that much eye shadow. You might also find yourself pining for those days when fewer lines creased the corners of your eyes and your smile looked remarkably brighter. As you age, your tooth enamel begins to take on a yellowish or dull appearance. Luckily, with the help of your dentist can help turn back the clock on your smile. If you have yellow teeth and live in Lake Forest IL, talk to Dr. James Fondriest about brightening your teeth safely and effectively.
Common Causes of Yellow Teeth
Tooth enamel looks brighter when it’s younger; this is why teeth whitening can make you look younger. Two primary factors contribute to the gradual yellowing of your teeth over time:
- Thinning enamel. Your enamel is mostly translucent and its natural color reflects the color of the thick dentin layer beneath the enamel. As the strong, protective outer layer of enamel endures daily wear and tear from normal activities like biting and chewing and parafunctional activities like teeth grinding, the enamel erodes slowly. As the enamel thins, the greyish or yellowish dentin becomes more visible, thus making older teeth look discolored.
- Stain accumulation. Your teeth pick up trace stains and discoloration from the foods and drinks you consume. The twice daily cups of coffee, occasional red wine, and even favorite foods like tomato sauce, soy sauce, and curry leave stains that begin to build up and dull your smile. If you smoke or chew tobacco products, your teeth will discolor more rapidly and dramatically than they would if you avoided these habits.
- Incidental factors. Other causes of discolored teeth include exposure to certain medications, like tetracycline, and severe injuries or health conditions that can discolor the tooth from within can give your teeth a stained, streaked, and aged appearance.
- Age. As you age, the dentin in your teeth actually gets darker naturally. Medical examiners commonly use teeth to estimate the age of John Does.
Professional Help for Yellow Teeth
A perception study conducted at Berlin’s Max Planck Institute revealed that people with whiter teeth are perceived as younger and more attractive than people with dull or yellow teeth. To help you look younger regardless of the cause of your discolored teeth, Dr. Fondriest provides the following solutions:
- Take home whitening trays. This convenient teeth whitening method is perfect for removing accumulated extrinsic stains (stains that come from outside sources, like drinking coffee). First, Dr. Fondriest provides you with custom-fitted whitening trays and several tubes of maximum strength whitening gel. Once at home, you fill the trays with gel and place the tray on your teeth. You can expect to wear your trays for at least 30 minutes per day, for 7-10 days. Although results are noticeable after just one day, you will notice your teeth looking dramatically whiter after the full course of treatment. Dr. Fondriest offers Day White Excel and Nite White Excel products and strongly recommends avoiding in-office whitening treatments. These “miracle” whitening solutions can dehydrate your tooth enamel, which can actually cause stains to return in force.
- Cosmetic bonding. An affordable, conservative solution for yellow, brown, or grey stains that do not respond to teeth whitening treatments, cosmetic bonding is performed in a single appointment. Dr. Fondriest bonds teeth using composite resin, a durable material made from state-of-the-art plastics and silica that can be color-matched to blend with your natural teeth. During a bonding appointment, Dr. Fondriest will apply the resin to your teeth. Next, he will cure the resin and, once hardened, he will use hand instruments to shape and polish the tooth.
- Porcelain veneers. If teeth whitening trays are not powerful enough to address your teeth stains and you want a longer-lasting solution than cosmetic bonding, you may want to discuss porcelain veneers with Dr. Fondriest. These thin porcelain coverings are custom-fitted and custom-designed to help you achieve a gorgeous, bright smile that looks incredibly natural. Dr. Fondriest offers traditional and no-prep veneers and each type has specific benefits for different patients.
About Lake Forest Dental Arts: Dr. James Fondriest is a nationally recognized expert in cosmetic and restorative dentistry. If yellow teeth or any other cosmetic imperfections are making you feel embarrassed or self-conscious about your smile, he can develop a treatment plan to help you receive a dazzling smile. To schedule a cosmetic or restorative consultation, contact our office today at (847) 234-0517.