Hey – Why Are My Teeth So Yellow?

-By Dr. Warren Woodruff

Legend has it that comedian Rodney Dangerfield once asked his dentist for advice.

“Doc – my teeth are yellow. What should I do?”

To which his dentist replied: “Wear a brown tie!”

Fortunately, these days we can give much better advice than that.

Most of us begin life with beautiful sparkly white teeth, but just as the years bring wrinkles, sags, bags and more – the age fairy can make our teeth much more yellow or brown than they used to be. Why does nature add this cruelty to her bag of tricks?

Here is a brief primer on yellowing teeth. The outer coating of our teeth is made of enamel – a beautiful smooth sparkling white surface. On the inside is a material called dentin, a darker material which makes up the core of our teeth. Normal activities such as chewing and exposure to acids in foods cause microscopic cracks in our enamel, allowing the yellow dentin to show through.

As most of us know, certain foods and drinks can also stain our teeth, contributing to a darker appearance. Smoking makes things much worse (and it’s not too good to the rest of your body either!)!

Basically there are two types of tooth stains – extrinsic stains (those that form on the outside of the teeth) and intrinsic stains (those that come from within).

Simple extrinsic stains can be removed by a good professional tooth cleaning and polishing. As these become more complex, tooth bleaching – either professional or over-the-counter, will be required.

Intrinsic stains, those that come from the inside of your teeth, are more difficult to remove and typically involve treatment from a dental professional.

A question that we are often asked at Orchard Maple Family Dental is “Do those whitening kits I can buy at the drug store actually work?” The answer is: Maybe!

For easy to remove light staining, in some cases they can do the trick. Best of all, it certainly won’t hurt to try them! However, we find that most of our patients achieve mush better results with professionally supervised whitening. Not only are the materials stronger, but in many cases we fabricate a custom application tray which fits your teeth perfectly, allowing the whitening materials to work at their maximum.

We also have a great program called Whitening For Life!  Here are some details: Upon completion of a comprehensive exam, necessary x-rays and your prescribed cleaning, you may enroll in our Whitening For Life! Program. A one-time fee of $99 gets you customized whitening trays and at-home whitening gel. Then at your regularly scheduled checkup and cleaning appointment (usually every 6 months), you will receive FREE touch-up whitening gel for your customized whitening trays for the rest of your life!

The good news is, you no longer have to put up with yellow unsightly teeth! Modern tooth whitening techniques are one of the greatest, easiest to use, most predictable and economically comfortable advances we have seen in dentistry in a long time! At Orchard Maple Family Dental we would be happy to discuss your teeth whitening options with you. Give us a call at 248-851-2876 and we’ll happily bring you in for a free whitening consultation.  Our goal is to give you the biggest happiest smile possible!

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