These days it seems that every famous face has a perfectly straight, luminous smile. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but sometimes it’s easy to forget that not everyone is born with such beautiful teeth. There’s a good chance that your favorite actor or musician has had some form of dental work, says Dr. Jeffrey Allen, a cosmetic dentist in Pella, IA. If your teeth are stained or discolored, it’s time to consider professional teeth whitening. You may never see the results on the silver screen, but that doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy the boost of self-esteem and confidence each time you look into a mirror.
Fifty Shades of…White?
Well, maybe not that many. Actually, the range of natural tooth enamel color features a whopping 28 different shades – everything from a pale, buttery yellow to a slightly gray cast. The majority of us are born with teeth that are ivory in color, which has been determined to be approximately seven shades shy of the whitest white. Genetics play a small role in determining the color of your teeth, too. Interestingly enough, the demand for beyond-natural white seems to be more common in the United States than in other parts of the world.
Factors Affecting Tooth Color
Several things determine the appearance of your tooth color – not just the shade of enamel. The simplest possible cause of yellow or stained teeth is poor oral hygiene. Failure to brush, floss, and schedule professional teeth cleaning allows plaque to build up on your teeth, causing them to look less than lustrous. Plaque, by the way, is a paste-like film of bacteria and leftover food. It’s also a major contributor to bad breath.
Tooth enamel is the outermost layer of your tooth; each tooth has three layers. The dentin lies just beneath the enamel and just outside of the nerves and tissue located deep within your tooth. Unlike enamel, dentin is almost always yellow or nearly brown in color. Because enamel has translucent properties, areas where the enamel has worn thin may actually reveal the yellow dentin below. Aggressive brushing, teeth grinding, and an acidic diet are the most common culprits for enamel erosion. Tobacco use is another obvious cause of stains and discoloration, regardless of whether you choose to chew it or smoke it.
Available Cosmetic Treatments for Stained Teeth
Surface stains are the easiest to remove from your teeth. The combination of a more diligent oral hygiene regimen and twice-yearly teeth cleaning is usually sufficient to reveal your smile. If the enamel itself is stained, Dr. Allen may recommend our Opalescence home whitening kit. We choose to offer this system for its ease of use, as well as its low likelihood of causing tooth sensitivity. The standard treatment time is about 14 days, and results last for several months.
When cleaning and whitening aren’t enough to remove stains entirely, you may consider porcelain veneers. Actually, veneers are highly recommended for anyone who wishes to improve several different features of their smile. For example, veneers can be used to fill in gaps, hide stains, cover chips and cracks, and create a more balanced appearance.
Dr. Jeffrey Allen provides comfortable dental care to patients of all ages. Call (641) 628-1121 today to schedule a checkup and cleaning, cosmetic consultation, or second-opinion visit. We are located on the west side of the historic town square in Pella, IA. Please see the map for directions.