Tooth whitening is a popular choice for helping you find a more confident smile. In today’s world, cameras, selfies, and live streams put pressure on having bright white, perfect, and pristine teeth, and professional cosmetic dental services like tooth whitening can help.
But, before you go whitening your teeth with the latest video trend, you should know a little more about what makes teeth look white because there’s more to it than what meets the eye. Keep reading to learn the truth about white teeth and tooth whitening options.
First, you should understand what your teeth are made of. Three layers make up the visible crown area of your teeth. The outermost layer is hard, white enamel, which protects the porous dentin layer that surrounds the living pulp of each tooth.
The initial thickness of the enamel layer depends on genetics. Over time, the enamel layer will begin to thin out due to age and dietary habits, causing the natural yellowish dentin color to show through more easily.
Enamel is strong, but it is not indestructible. Sugary foods can significantly contribute to the thinning of the enamel, but dietary moderation and increased oral hygiene can help prevent loss of enamel.
Dentin is a yellowish and rigid material that forms within your teeth naturally. The dentin structure supports the enamel layer while protecting the pulp of the tooth. The microscopic tubes in dentin are sensitive to temperature changes and contribute to sensitivity issues.
The pulp of the tooth is the most sensitive area. It contains nerves and blood vessels that contribute to the intense pain that oral trauma and infection can cause. The pulp sensitivity helps serve as a warning indicator of tooth health.
You’ll want to speak with a cosmetic dentist to assess the health of your teeth before attempting any whitening procedures. Over-the-counter whitening products can damage unhealthy teeth. Your cosmetic dentist will be able to provide alternative options if whitening is unsafe for you.
Lighting can make all the difference in how white your teeth appear. While light may seem colorless in most cases, the way we perceive light actually depends on the color spectrum. Each type of bulb you use in your home or office can have a different effect on your perception of your tooth color.
Warm lights emit light in yellow and orange tones. Cool lights tend to emit more blue and violet wavelengths of light. Some lighting color spectrums may lead you to believe your teeth are yellow, brown, or even grey.
Additionally, dental restorations reflect light differently than natural tooth enamel. Teeth with restoration material can occasionally contrast natural tooth enamel in specific lighting spectrums. Cosmetic dentistry offers options for you to explore to make your tooth color more consistent.
Many foods and drinks can affect the coloration and health of your teeth. These foods, drinks, and other factors can include:
● Coffee, tea, and wine
● Berries, beets, and other highly pigmented foods (natural and artificial)
● Tobacco products can stain teeth and deteriorate gum health
● Acidic foods and food products like citrus and citric acid additives
● Hygiene levels can influence tooth coloration and overall health
● Medications in rare cases can cause changes in tooth color
● Natural aging and thinning of the enamel can cause yellowing
When it comes to food and drinks, you don’t have to give up your morning cup of coffee or afternoon snack. Simply moderate the amount of acidic and highly pigmented foods and schedule regular cleanings with your dental team. This can help slow down the normal wear and tear on teeth.
Nicotine products not only stain teeth, but they also contribute to oral tissue damage that you can avoid. The damage can be irreversible and increase the expense of restoring your oral health.
While aging and medication can be frustrating, these factors are essentially unavoidable. However, thanks to modern cosmetic dentistry, your smile can remain as healthy and bright as ever. Our team of professionals can determine if veneers, dentures, or implants may be viable alternative options for you.
Contact us at Dr. Hal N. Arnold at Esthetic & Implant Dentistry by filling out our easy-to-use form here. Or call us at (404) 941-1794 to schedule a consultation.