Are yellow teeth such a problem? Are they a sign of bad health, or just an esthetic issue?
Indeed, our smiles are one of the first things people notice about us. So, it’s natural we’re self-conscious about them. The size, shape, and yes, color of our teeth are all things we may worry about.
Tooth discoloration is something that can affect anyone. Even if you’ve got perfectly shaped and aligned teeth, you can still experience tooth yellowing. This can be a blow to self-confidence and self-esteem.
But before you head for yellow teeth treatment in San Diego, here’s what you should know.
What Causes Yellow Teeth?
There are many reasons teeth may be yellow, or become yellow. One of the most common is eating and drinking foods that stain the teeth over time, such as:
- Red wine
- Tomato sauces
Smoking or chewing tobacco is another big factor in yellowing teeth for many people.
However, it’s important to note that yellow teeth don’t always result from stains from dietary or lifestyle decisions.
Teeth will naturally turn yellow over time as the enamel wears down, revealing the dentin underneath. “Dentin” is one of the inner layers of the tooth and is naturally a yellowish color. It can be quite sensitive when exposed.
Tooth color is also partially genetic – you may just be born with naturally more yellow teeth. It’s the same way that two people of the same ethnicity may have slightly different shades of skin.
Are Yellow Teeth Normal?
Yes. It is perfectly natural for teeth to be slightly yellow.
For almost a hundred years we’ve had the “Hollywood smile” thrown at us as a picture of beauty, with perfectly white, evenly shaped teeth. While this is undoubtedly a nice esthetic, it’s not an indication of what normal, healthy teeth can and do look like.
From genetic factors to simply the passage of time, yellow teeth are perfectly normal.
Are Yellow Teeth Healthy?
This will depend on why they’re yellow.
As we said above, it’s perfectly normal for teeth to turn yellow due to age, diet, or lifestyle choices. Yellow teeth are not unhealthier than white teeth.
However, yellowing can be a sign of poor oral hygiene or infection in the mouth. So while the yellowing itself is not a cause of poor oral health, it can indicate poor oral health.
Poor oral hygiene can result in tooth enamel being worn down, revealing the yellow dentin beneath. Infection can also cause bacteria to eat at the enamel, yellowing the teeth.
When Should You See A Dentist About Yellow Teeth?
The simple answer is when it bothers you.
If your teeth have rapidly changed color, this could indicate a problem. It would be a good idea to have a dentist examine your teeth to look for underlying issues.
Otherwise, if you’re unhappy with the color of your teeth and would like to look into changing it, see your dentist for yellow teeth treatment in San Diego.
How Can I Avoid Yellow Teeth?
The simplest way to avoid yellowing your teeth is to avoid certain foods and drinks, and also tobacco and nicotine-containing products. Combine this with a good oral hygiene routine and twice-a-year dental cleanings (here at Blyss Dental in Del Mar), and you’ll maintain your tooth color for longer.
Acidic drinks such as citrus juices and fizzy drinks will also contribute to your teeth staining, and can even make the stains deeper in the enamel than normal.
None of that is to say you should completely avoid your morning coffee or an evening glass of wine. Just be aware that these foods and others will contribute to staining over time.
Damage to your teeth can also contribute to staining. This can be damage sustained during sports or other physical activities, or grinding your teeth. If you have a grinding problem, it’s a good idea to see your dentist about getting a dental splint to protect your teeth.
How Can I Fix Yellow Teeth?
Once teeth have become yellow, there are only two major options:
Teeth whitening, or dental veneers.
Which treatment option you go for will depend on the type of staining. Is the yellowing extrinsic – that is, on the surface, such as food-related stains – or intrinsic – in or under the enamel, due to aging, damage, etc.?
If the issue is extrinsic, then teeth whitening is for you. There are many types of teeth whitening (see below) but they all work on the same principle: bleaching the teeth to remove stains and coloring, leaving teeth whiter and brighter.
If the issue is intrinsic, teeth whitening won’t be effective. The only option will be to use veneers to effectively hide the teeth behind thin layers of material, typically porcelain or dental composite.
I invite you to explore how to get rid of yellow teeth with a consultation in our dental clinic here in Del Mar. Let’s determine what teeth whitening method is appropriate for you.
Should I Get Teeth Whitening?
If you don’t like the color of your teeth and your staining is extrinsic, then it’s entirely up to you!
Whitening your teeth provides no health benefits. It’s purely a cosmetic procedure. If there’s an underlying cause behind your tooth color, then whitening will not help to solve it. It must be addressed separately first.
Otherwise, teeth whitening is a fast, incredibly effective way to make your teeth whiter and brighter.
What Teeth Whitening Options Are There?
Teeth whitening falls into two categories:
- In-chair whitening
- At-home whitening
In-chair whitening is done at your dentist’s office. It’s more expensive, but in an hour or so you can brighten your teeth 5-7 shades. This is done with specialists using carefully applied bleaching materials for the best, fastest results.
At-home whitening is sold as a kit that you make and wear at home. Every day for a few hours you wear the whitening kit with the bleaching material inside. Over a few days or weeks your teeth will whiten up to 5 shades or so.
At-home whitening is more cost-effective but takes more time. You can buy whitening kits at the supermarket or chemist, but it’s best to get them from the dentist. They can make a custom mouth tray that perfectly fits your teeth for better results.
Both methods can achieve similar results. The primary difference is price and speed.
How Much Whiter Can I Make My Teeth?
With teeth whitening, you can’t pick a specific shade. Everyone responds to whitening differently, similarly to how everyone tans at different speeds. The only guarantee is that you will have significantly whiter teeth.
You can get multiple whitening sessions in a row, but it’s best to space these out to avoid overdrying your teeth.
If you get dental veneers to hide teeth yellowing, you can select the exact shade you want the veneers to be.
Where Can I Get Teeth Whitening?
You can come straight to us! We offer in-chair and at-home teeth whitening kits. We even provide take-home kits to help maintain your whiter teeth if you get in-chair whitening.
Yellow teeth are perfectly normal and in most cases, absolutely healthy. But if you’re after a brighter, more pleasing aesthetic, contact us today to find out how we can help you!