Yellow teeth or other discolouration is something most people complain about. Do you? Teeth and molars can discolour due to various causes. It is perfectly understandable that you find your teeth discolouration unpleasant and therefore want your teeth to be treated.
Colour of the teeth and the molars
Teeth and molars are made up of dentin and enamel. It is the colour and thickness of the dentin that mainly determines the colour of a tooth or molar. The colour of the dentin is hereditary, so someone else may have whiter teeth than you. In general, canines are naturally slightly yellowish in colour. This is because the layer of canine dentin is thicker. Discolouration of teeth can occur due to changes in the dentin.
What are the most important causes of yellow teeth?
At a later age, discoloration can occur due to aging processes. Reasons for this include; the results of gradual wear, the tooth necks becoming exposed and enamel becoming more brittle which causes small cracks. Discolouration then develops faster because dyes can penetrate the porous dental bone more easily. In addition, due to aging the layer of dentine is thickened, which results in yellow teeth.
Within the teeth and molars is a cavity filled with blood vessels and nerve fibers, the so-called pulp. The pulp can become inflamed and die off due to an accident or tooth decay. As a result, the tooth may discolour blue or yellow-grey. The reasons for such an occurrence of discoloration is similar to the occurrence of a common bruise in the skin. In some cases the discoloration of the tooth or molar can occur after a root canal treatment, when dyes from the filling material have entered the tooth.
When young children are administered a certain type of antibiotic called tetracycline it can cause discoloration in their adult teeth. The discoloration is then built into the dentin during the construction of the teeth.
A fall or blow to a tooth during childhood can often lead to the formation of extra dentin, causing the tooth to gradually become more yellowish in later life.
There are nutrients that make our teeth more porous, leading to increased sensitivity and discoloration. Some of the ingredients responsible include high salt levels, dyes, acids and (added) sugars. Good examples are coffee and tea, sports drinks, berries, wine, sweets and even pickles.
Disorders in the development of the teeth may cause discoloration. Fluorosis is an example of such a disorder. It arises because children have received too much fluoride during the formation of the permanent teeth. This gives the enamel of their adult teeth a white superficial discoloration. Also, prolonged illness during the infant and toddler years can have an effect on the development of the enamel and give more stain-like discoloration.
Treatment of yellow teeth
Bleaching is a commonly used method for teeth whitening. There are different systems for bleaching and the ones provided through the dentist are among the more expensive ways of teeth bleaching. A far more cost effective way to whiten your teeth is to buy a popular and safe system yourself. There are several different bleaching products that you can choose based on your needs and expectations.
When selecting a teeth whitening product, it is important to choose one which contains peroxide and not chlorine dioxide. This acid will whiten your teeth, but only at greater cost as it eats away the surface of the enamel!
When correctly applied, bleaching will produce excellent results, leading to significantly improved teeth colour. The teeth whitening which results from bleaching is not permanent and after a period of time the bleach eventually wears off and will need to be reapplied. Smoking and drinking a lot of coffee or tea speeds this up. With re-bleaching, your teeth can be re-whitened again. The results of bleaching may depend on the initial cause of the discoloration, as well as the type of bleach used.
Ad- and disadvantages of bleaching
- A beautiful smile without damaging your teeth.
- The original structure and shape of your teeth is preserved, achieving a very natural result.
- For many cosmetic treatments drilling and operations are necessary but this does not apply to bleaching.
- In the past, discoloured or stained teeth were crowned in order to hide yellow teeth but nowadays bleaching offers a simple solution at a much cheaper cost!
- The bleach eventually wears off so you will have to bleach again.
- In the case of smoking or frequent coffee and tea drinks discoloration will occur more rapidly.
- Bleaching has no effect on fillings and crowns.
Important comments and advice
If you get a dentist to bleach your teeth the costs will significantly be more expensive than doing it yourself at home. If you choose to do it yourself, go for a safe product which does not cause any damage.
Continuation of treatment
Depending on which whitestrips you have chosen, treatment varies from only one hour (think of a last-minute event) to 5-30 minutes a day for a period of 20 days. For the longer treatments the result will likely remain up to 12 months. After this period you may simply repeat the treatment while sticking to the guidelines.
Bleaching with special toothpastes
There are toothpastes for sale which contain a bleach. With these it is possible to make teeth whiter. The effect will not be as strong as whitestrips, but they can be used perfectly as support.
How do I get rid of yellow teeth? – Download in PDF