If you are getting older and you notice that your teeth appear a bit more yellow or brown than they used to look, then you are not seeing things. Aging can cause the teeth to appear darker and more stained. If you want to know why this happens and what your cosmetic dentist can do about it, keep reading.
Why Do Aged Teeth Appear Stained?
As you age, your teeth go through a significant amount of wear and tear. Erosion, acid attacks, and even physical stress cause the enamel to wear out and thin down over time. Also, the natural cracks in the enamel start widen and more cracks develop on the surfaces of the teeth. All of these things cause the tooth dentin to become more apparent and exposed. Dentin is a darker color than the enamel, and when it shows through the enamel, your teeth will appear darker and stained.
The enamel itself may be darker, too, due to your consumption of coffee, tea, or other food items with a high concentration of coloring agents. And, if you have not received a dental cleaning in some time, then your teeth may be covered in tartar, which appears as a tan or off-white color when it develops on the teeth. Even a significant accumulation of plaque can make the teeth appear yellow. While plaque and tartar formations are not age-related issues, some people stop visiting the dentist as they get older and the debris can lead to a significant reduction in tooth beauty.
Another problem that you may notice and that affects tooth color is when the gums begin receding and exposing the tooth roots. The roots are naturally a darker color than the crowns, so this can add to the appearance of the stains.
What Can A Dentist Do To Help?
A cosmetic dental professional can help to reduce the appearance of tooth discoloration in a number of ways. The first step is making sure that the teeth are free of plaque and tartar with a cleaning. Your root exposure will also be evaluated to see if a procedure like a gum graft may be necessary to help protect and cover the roots properly.
Also, a penetrative tooth whitening service will be offered, in which whitening agents are able to work their way deep into the cracks of the enamel to where the dentin is present. The whitening solutions will then work on the dentin and the enamel to remove discoloration. While an in-office laser whitening can make your teeth appear a few shades lighter, you will likely also need to complete some whitening treatments at home on a more long-term basis so you can continually work on whitening the teeth.
For more information, contact a cosmetic dentist.