When things age, we politely say they “Fade with time.” Well, this can certainly be true of teeth — the bright, white color you enjoyed when you were younger is slowly giving way to teeth that can better be described as dull and yellowish or brownish.
This age-related discoloration certainly explains why more than 35 million Americans turn to teeth whitening in any given year.
To give you a better idea about what you’re up against when it comes to aging and discoloration in your teeth, the team here at Peninsula Dental Excellence, under the direction of Dr. Jeff Yoshihara and Dr. Jessie Yu, takes a closer look at this common issue. And we also dive into how we can restore your teeth to their former white glory.
When your adult teeth first come in, they enjoy ample amounts of enamel, the protective material surrounding each of your teeth. Your enamel is also what gives your teeth that bright, white appearance.
Over time, your enamel can start to thin. When this happens, the inside of your teeth — the dentin — can begin to show through more. Unfortunately, dentin is yellow/brown, so teeth often take on those hues as you age.
Long-term staining is another issue that can make your teeth less white than they used to be. Some of the biggest culprits are coffee, tea, wine, sodas, and other beverages that you might consume on a daily basis.
Beyond those beverages, if you’re a smoker, this can severely stain teeth.
Our point is that some foods, drinks, and habits can discolor teeth over time, and even the best brushing at home can’t eliminate these stains.
The best way to stay one step ahead of staining is to see us twice a year for professional teeth cleaning.
Other influences that can dull or discolor teeth
While enamel loss and staining are the leading offenders when it comes to discolored teeth, there are other culprits, including:
- Antibiotic use (tetracycline staining)
- Too much fluoride, which can lead to white stains
- Eating disorders
- Cancer treatments
- Trauma to a tooth, causing it to darken
Whatever is behind your discolored teeth, the good news is that we can help.
Bringing your white teeth back
Depending upon what we’re up against, there are different ways to restore the white, bright color of your teeth. In the best-case scenario, we can turn to a professional whitening procedure, which allows us to whiten your teeth by several shades in just one visit.
If your teeth don’t respond to whitening, we can use dental veneers to cover up discolored teeth. Or, if you’re just dealing with one tooth that’s discolored, we can cover it with a dental crown.
While there might not be anything we can do about aging, there are steps that we can take to offset the effects — namely, getting your smile to shine again with white teeth.
To determine which option is best for your teeth and goals, please contact our Mountain View, California, office to schedule a consultation.