Are white teeth healthy? Advantages and disadvantages of dental veneersOver the past few weeks, people couldn't stop talking over how a couple of famous Dutch celebrities have undergone dental surgery procedures so they could flash a truly blinding white smile. For this to happen, dental surgeons file away part of the original teeth. Apparently this procedure is becoming ever more popular with the advent of social media like Instagram and YoutTube where these semi-celebs show off their health and wealth.
Yellow teeth are stronger!Gone are the days we were happy with our natural yellowish teeth. It seems that everyone strives for bright white teeth. There are whitening agents in toothpastes which apparently don’t really do the trick, floss, mouthwash, strips, gels, and even chewing gum. Yellow teeth seem to get a bad reputation and are usually associated with poor oral hygiene. Fortunately, we have some good news for those who lack those pearly whites. Yellow teeth are actually stronger than bright white teeth!
But rest assured, yellow teeth are mostly stronger than white teeth.
The strongest teeth are natural, healthy ones and these teeth are not white. At least, not white like the colour of paper, or even the colour of piano keys. They are a couple of shades darker than that. The enamel itself is a blueish white colour, but it is also somewhat translucent so the yellow of the dentine beneath it shows through to make the overall colour of the teeth either light grey or light yellow.
Dark yellow teeth are mostly stained due to heavy smoking, but there are also some foods that stain your teeth.
- beverages such as coffee, tea and soda because those alter the pH balance and damage the enamel
- red wine because of the tannins stain teeth red, which fortunately can be counterbalanced by eating cheese
- balsamic vinegar and soy sauce stain teeth purple
- tomato sauces stain teeth red, but can be paired with cauliflower or broccoli
When used as directed, whitening agents and bleaching products do not weaken enamel. However, it can occur when something extremely abrasive is used to scrub the teeth white. This way you can actually remove a layer of enamel.
Bleaching products can have multiple side effects, the most common being sensitivity to the cold or more rarely, sharp sporadic pains in the gum area after bleaching which lasts a few hours.
If you still want to strive for those white teeth though, there are plenty of chemical-free routes to take that will not damage your enamel.
A natural method is to mix turmeric with coconut oil. Swish the mixture in your mouth for a few minutes each day or several times a week. Both coconut oil and turmeric are great for managing a healthy oral flora.
There are even foods you can eat, that help whiten your teeth
- raw cauliflower or broccoli, which functions as natural dental sticks and causes you to produce more saliva
- strawberries with malic acid that removes stains (also present in apples, nectarines, cherries, peaches and lychees)
- cheese and yoghurt with lactic acid as a natural whitener
- seeds and nuts that work as exfoliants by stripping stains from teeth
- pineapple with bromelain that breaks down protein on teeth
- raw onions with sulphur that keep plaque from forming on your teeth
- raw celery and carrots act like tooth brushes and strengthen gum
Still interested in knowing more about dental veneers?
What are dental veneers?Dental veneers are wafer-thin, custom-made shells of tooth-coloured materials designed to cover the front surface of teeth to improve your appearance. These shells are bonded to the front of the teeth changing their colour, shape, size, or length.
Dental veneers can be made from porcelain or from resin composite materials. Porcelain veneers resist stains better than resin veneers. They also better mimic the light-reflecting properties of natural teeth.
What problems do dental veneers fix?Dental veneers fix teeth that are discoloured because of:
- root canal treatment
- stains from tetracycline or other drugs
- excessive fluoride
- large resin fillings
Or they can cover
- that are worn down
- that are chipped or broken
- teeth that are misaligned, uneven, or irregularly shaped
- teeth with gaps between them
Dental veneer benefitsVeneers offer these advantages:
- they provide a natural tooth appearance.
- gums tolerates porcelain well.
- porcelain veneers are stain resistant.
- a colour can be selected to make dark teeth appear whiter.
- they generally don't require as much shaping as crowns do, yet they are stronger and look better.
Dental veneer risksDownsides to dental veneers include:
- the process cannot be undone.
- veneers cost more than composite resin bonding.
- veneers usually cannot be repaired if they chip or crack.
- because enamel has been removed, your tooth may become more sensitive to hot and cold foods and drinks
- veneers may not exactly match the colour of your other teeth. Also, the veneer's colour cannot be altered once it’s in place. If you plan on whitening your teeth, you need to do so before getting veneers.
- though not likely, veneers can dislodge and fall off. To minimize the chance of this occurring, do not bite your nails, chew on pencils, ice or other hard objects, or otherwise put too much pressure on your teeth.
- teeth with veneers can still experience decay, possibly necessitating full coverage of the tooth with a crown.
- veneers are not a good choice for people with unhealthy teeth (for example, those with decay or active gum disease), weakened teeth (as a result of decay, fracture, large dental fillings), or for those who don't have enough existing enamel on the tooth surface.
- people who clench and grind their teeth are poor candidates for porcelain veneers, as this can cause the veneers to crack or chip.
Dental veneer lifespan and aftercareVeneers generally last between 7 and 15 years. After this time, the veneers would need to be replaced.
Dental veneers do not require any special care. Continue to follow good oral hygiene practices, including brushing, flossing, and rinsing with an antiseptic mouthwash as you normally would.
Even though porcelain veneers resist stains, it is recommended to avoid stain-causing foods and beverages.
Dental veneer costWhat a veneer will cost may depend where you live and how much work you want done. Generally, the price is well over €1000 per tooth. The cost usually is not covered by insurance.
Dental veneer alternatives
Alternatives to veneers include bondings and crowns. Veneers are a nice in-between option. Veneers may be your best choice if you want to change the shape of your teeth more than just a little bit, as is done with bonding, but not enough to require a crown.
Don't know about you, but it seems like a lot of effort and even risk for a rather short period of time. I'd rather just keep my mouth shut or if I would really want to show a (fake) white smile for a party or an instagram selfie, go for a set of overlay teeth, which are mae of silica gel. That way you can fake it while hanging onto your own healthy set of teeth.