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Why do teeth change color? Our teeth can stain and darken over time for many reasons. In many instances, yellowing of the teeth comes with age,  staining of the enamel,  and the accumulation of plaque on the teeth due to poor dental hygiene. Whatever the cause, most people prefer whiter teeth as they as a sign of health and youth.

What Causes Yellowing Of Teeth?

Yellowing of teeth is due to many factors. It is different for each individual. For some, it might start with one or two teeth while, for others, it might be more pronounced. The entire tooth may not discolor in the traditional sense, either. Some teeth may exhibit spotting, pitting, or streaks of white or yellow.

Luckily, the initial yellowing of teeth does not generally cause pain or discomfort. What it can cause is a person being self conscious and trying to hide their smile. There are certain factors involved with the changes in tooth color.

-Staining. Also referred to as yellowing. The enamel of the teeth yellow or darken due to staining from coffee, red wine, soda, tobacco, and other foods and drink.

- Thin and discolored enamel.  Sometimes, thin enamel is genetic, or discolored because of issues during tooth development. Over exposure to high amounts of minerals in water or tetracycline use during tooth development as a child can cause gray or mottled looking teeth. Fevers during tooth development can also cause malformed enamel. For others with stronger enamel, wear can happen over time,  from trauma and use. This wear can be caused by aggressive brushing, physical trauma such as grinding and clenching, high exposure to acids from foods or health issues. As the enamel thins out over time, the dentin on the inside of the tooth will begin to show through. This thinner enamel will also allow more uptake of stain deeper into the teeth. The yellow color will be more prominent due to the thin enamel layer on the outside.

-Age. As we get older yellowing of teeth is quite normal. From wear and use our enamel layer will become thinner thus allowing more of the underlying tooth structure to show thru.

How To Treat Yellowing Teeth?

-Teeth WhiteningTeeth whitening products and treatments are able to whiten our teeth by removing stains and discolorations. Across the globe, teeth whitening is the most popular cosmetic dentistry procedure. It works best when teeth are stained from foods, beverages, and smoking. The results for malformed enamel can vary in effectiveness, and sometimes look worse.

There are two main types of teeth whitening: in office treatment and at home treatment. In office whitening involves application of whitening products to the teeth while in the dental office. Results up to several shades lighter are achieved the same day. The process is fast, and easy. At home procedures involve application of whitening products to the teeth by the patient daily, for approximately 1 week to 1 month. The at home process is slower to achieve results, generally less expensive, and usually easy. Both cosmetic dentistry whitening procedures are very effective, and can help you to achieve the whiter smile you have been dreaming of. Any type of whitening can cause sensitivity, which is usually short term.

-Porcelain VeneersPorcelain veneers are a great option for teeth that will not whiten the way you would like.  Mottled enamel, and tetracycline stained teeth do not evenly whiten, some of us have see through or translucent which do not whiten well either. Porcelain veneers give the cosmetic dentist the ability to change the color of teeth, keeping them natural looking and have low incidence of staining when taken care of properly.  Porcelain veneers are custom made ultra thin porcelain restorations that are bonded to the front surfaces of the teeth. Modern porcelain veneers offer a natural looking, beautiful smile. Porcelain veneers generally last between 8 to 12 years, but if cared for properly can last for much longer . The lifespan of porcelain veneers (and any dental restoration) depends upon your oral hygiene maintenance, the forces on the teeth(hard use, grinding), tooth decay, and maintaining regular dental visits.

-Porcelain CrownsPorcelain crowns give the cosmetic dentist the ability to restore a tooth to its natural look without the use of metal. This allows the dental laboratory to fabricate a tooth that reflects light just like our own natural teeth.  Porcelain crowns can be used on teeth that either already have crowns or need more extensive work. Teeth with large, deep, silver fillings, root canals, or extensive tooth decay generally have deep staining which needs to be covered with a crown to restore strength and beauty.

-Dental BondingDental bonding is the process in which tooth colored dental materials are bonded to a tooth. This might be one of the easiest cosmetic dentistry procedures to change our look. Using dental bonding we can change color, shape, size, and close any spaces that might be present. Dental bonding is generally completed in the dentist office in as little as an hour. This is especially useful when treating damaged, thin, or malformed enamel.

Conclusion

Yellowing teeth does not have to be an issue. Protect your smile by limiting acidic and highly staining foods. See your dentist to help you stop grinding and clenching habits. See your hygienist to have your cleaned teeth regularly. Maintain good oral hygiene, without being overly aggressive. If you already have deep staining or damaged enamel, see your dentist to see which options will work best for you.You can achieve the bright white smile you desire with a little help from your dentist!

We all know someone who does not look their age. Whether it be their hair, lack of wrinkles, or just the way they present themselves. They seem to defy time by stayingLas Vegas Cosmetic Dentist Marielaina Perrone DDS active and being young at heart. On the other end of the spectrum, there are those who are older than their years. This group is plagued by aging skin, may be prematurely grey or balding or just have something about them that seems aged. We say, that life has taken their toll on this group.

“A smile takes but a moment, but the memory of it lasts forever.”

Did you know we also have a dental age? As we age, our teeth will change as well. They can get darker, crack and thin, become worn down from various activities, become elongated, or shift position from periodontal disease, or we can even suffer from loss of teeth.

Changes To Teeth That Make Us Look Older

-Darkening or Yellowing of Teeth. Our teeth will darken over time just from daily life. This can include foods we eat, smoking, and even our choice of drink. Most people associate youth with a bright, white smile. Having a darkened, yellowing smile can often make you appear less attractive to others and older than you actually are.

-Worn Down Teeth. As we age, we lose some of the enamel on our teeth. As the cusps of our teeth wear down from chewing, teeth grinding, nail biting, as well as other habits. This will lead to your bite collapsing a little at a time. This coincided with our skin losing elasticity over time can create sagging skin and wrinkles around the mouth. Wear also happens with aggressive brushing, high acid foods, and cracking or chipping from brittleness.

-Gum Recession. If we do not maintain proper dental care throughout life we can develop periodontal disease. One of the consequences of periodontal disease is gum Las Vegas Cosmetic Dentist Marielaina Perrone DDStissue recession. This exposes more of our teeth making them appear longer than they actually are. “Long in the tooth”. This is another sign people perceive as something an older person would have.

-Missing Teeth. Although tooth loss can occur at any age, missing teeth makes you appear older. Having a full complement of teeth in your smile is far more attractive than one littered with spaces from missing teeth. Missing teeth cause surrounding teeth to shift, and your bite to lose it’s vertical height. Over-closed teeth make your lower face look collapsed, wrinkled, and old.

-Broken or stained dental work. Over time, both crowns and dental fillings may begin to fail and need to be replaced. This is especially true in the front of the mouth where mismatched colors, stained fillings, and chips in teeth are readily apparent when we smile.

How To Recapture A Youthful Dental Smile?

Modern dentistry has developed quite a few procedures to maintain a youthful attractive smile. These include:

-Teeth Whitening. This is quite possibly the most popular cosmetic dentistry procedure today. It is safe and effective and comes in a few forms. These forms include in office whitening, at home whitening (with dentist provided trays), as well as use of teeth whitening strips, and topical gels. All of these methods are quite effective for most people. It has been proven by research time and again, that people find a whiter smile to be more youthful and attractive.  People tend to feel better about themselves when they are happy with their appearance. Teeth whitening can give patients a dramatic change to their smile with minimal cost and time invested.

-Teeth Contouring. This might be one of the simplest and most cost effective cosmetic dentistry procedures of all. It is usually done without the need for anesthesia and can be as simple as filing down a tooth that appears longer or is slightly out of alignment with the others. Most patients are quite surprised at how such a small adjustment can alter their smile for the better.

-Dental Bonding. While dental bonding is also used to restore teeth damaged by tooth decay it can also be used as a composite veneer to change color or shape, fix chipped teeth, or close small gaps in your smile. Dental bonding is the process in which tooth colored dental materials are bonded to a tooth. This procedure is also a quicker fix and can usually be completed in a single visit. This procedure can easily alter your smile in as little as an hour. A very easy way to make your smile youthful looking again.

-Gum contouring and Gum grafting. Evening out gum levels can help teeth to look more evenly sized and can make short teeth appear longer. Gum grafts can fix areas where gum recession has occurred to make everything appear even and natural again.

-Porcelain Veneers and Porcelain Crowns. Over time our smiles change. Teeth can get worn down, can shift, or maybe you were born with a smile that was not quite perfect. Porcelain veneers and porcelain crowns can be a great way to replace lost tooth structure and alter imperfect teeth creating a more youthful appearance. These Las Vegas Cosmetic Dentist Marielaina Perrone DDScosmetic dentistry procedures tend to require multiple visits but the results will give you a beautiful, youthful smile. Porcelain Veneers are custom made, ultra thin, tooth colored shells that are adhesively bonded to the teeth. This allows the cosmetic dentist to not only alter color of your teeth, but shape and length as well. Porcelain veneers are sometimes called instant orthodontics. This is because porcelain veneers can change the alignment of teeth if the alignment issues are not too extreme. Porcelain crowns can be used on teeth that either already have crowns or need more extensive work (having large restorations or tooth decay). Both porcelain veneers and porcelain crowns can as used in cosmetic dentistry to give the patient a flawless, more youthful and attractive smile.

-Dental ImplantsDental implants allow cosmetic dentists another option in tooth replacement to recreate a youthful, attractive smile. Whether it is a single tooth or a full mouth restoration, dental implants can fill that need. Missing teeth or open spaces has long been considered a sign of old age. Having a full set of white teeth screams youth especially when they are bright, white, and sparkling. When a person is missing a tooth they have several options. There are partial and complete dentures (including the all on 4 dental implants system), traditional bridges, and dental implants. A dental implant can look and feel just like a natural tooth. It is also easier to keep clean than a traditional bridge. Dental implants are placed directly into bone creating a solid foundation for a natural tooth replacement.

-Bite Reclamation. Over time as we age, we tend to lose some height on our teeth. This loss of height of height is also referred to as loss of vertical dimension. Some other factors that cause this loss include acid reflux or teeth grinding (bruxism). Reclaiming a person’s bite utilizing dental implants and porcelain crowns will increase vertical height which will also remove some of the wrinkles around the mouth. These wrinkles develop as our we age and our mouth’s sag from this loss of dimension. Cosmetic dentistry can fix some of this.

-Botox and Dermal Fillers. Long the realm of cosmetic surgeons, dentistry has now added these procedures to give you a more youthful look. In combination with dental work, removing some of those wrinkles on the face and around the mouth specifically will better frame that beautiful, white, youthful smile.

Dental Age Conclusion

Most of us want to stay young as long as possible. We go to the gym, dye our hair, and try to maintain the cosmetics of a youthful smile.  Maintaining healthy teeth and gums can help you to keep feeling young and health. As always, maintain a regular schedule of dental examinations and professional cleanings for a healthy smile that will last a lifetime.