Thanks to the entertainment industry, a gleaming white smile is a standard of beauty that can make some people with darker teeth worry about their appearance. But it's not always just about appearances.
Yellow teeth can sometimes be a sign of poor oral hygiene, as it's the colour of dental plaque associated with tooth decay. Plaque can build up if you don't brush and floss properly or don't visit the dentist often.
On the other hand, yellow teeth may simply be an aesthetic issue – as in the case of teeth stained by food and drink or tobacco – and not necessarily a sign of poor oral health. Even a healthy diet may cause some staining.
Some people's teeth are also naturally more yellow than others, due to genetics. If someone has thinner enamel, more of the yellow dentine layer underneath will show through. Enamel tends to wear down with age, which is why our teeth often turn yellow as we get older.
Whatever the reason for tooth discolouration, having yellow teeth in a culture that idolises white smiles can affect self-esteem and self-confidence, which can impact on lives in many ways. So it's not surprising that many people explore options to whiten their smile.
Can you make yellow teeth white again?
If you want whiter teeth, a dentist is the best person to talk to for professional advice. They can give you information about the different cosmetic dentistry treatments available and make sure you have realistic expectations of what to expect and any associated risks.
These treatments include:
Professional teeth cleaning
Keeping up with your regular dental appointments helps to keep your teeth as healthy as possible, with professional teeth cleaning removing any plaque that may have accumulated since your last visit. Cleaning and scaling can remove some surface stains, but it can't whiten deeper stains.
Teeth whitening in New Zealand is offered at dental clinics or can be done in your own home using a whitening kit.
- Professional teeth whitening is the fastest option that can brighten teeth by several shades, often in a single appointment.
- If you prefer to do it yourself at home, it's recommended that you use a customised kit provided by your dentist rather than a generic product from a store, as this will produce better results.
If the type of tooth discolouration you have can't be treated by whitening, you want a longer-lasting solution, or you want to make other changes to your smile (such as fixing crooked teeth or gaps), dental veneers can be a versatile alternative.
There are two options for veneers:
- Porcelain laminates bonded to the front of teeth
- Composite resin applied directly to the teeth
Porcelain veneers are stronger and generally last longer, but they also cost more than composite veneers. Fitting veneers involves permanently altering your teeth, so it's a decision that needs to be made carefully.
Amalgam filling replacement
If you have old metal fillings you want to replace, ask your dentist if they offer amalgam replacement to replace these with tooth-coloured white fillings.
As teeth whitening treatments can't whiten fillings, crowns or other dental restorations, some people choose to have these replaced so they match their new white smile.
Talk to a cosmetic dentist in Auckland
Do you want to make a change to your smile? Call our team at St Heliers Dental Centre today on (09) 575 5814 or book a consultation to find out what your options are and how our dentists could help.