Hey – Why Are My Teeth So Yellow?

Hey – Why Are My Teeth So Yellow?

Legend has it that comedian Rodney Dangerfield once asked his dentist for advice.

“Doc – my teeth are yellow. What should I do?”

To which his dentist replied: “Wear a brown tie!”

Fortunately, these days we can give much better advice than that.

Most of us begin life with beautiful sparkly white teeth, but just as the years bring wrinkles, sags, bags and more – the age fairy can make our teeth much more yellow or brown than they used to be. Why does nature add this cruelty to her bag of tricks?

Here is a brief primer on yellowing teeth. The outer coating of our teeth is made of enamel – a beautiful smooth sparkling white surface. On the inside is a material called dentin, a darker material which makes up the core of our teeth. Normal activities such as chewing and exposure to acids in foods cause microscopic cracks in our enamel, allowing the yellow dentin to show through.

As most of us know, certain foods and drinks can also stain our teeth, contributing to a darker appearance. Smoking makes things much worse (and it’s not too good to the rest of your body either!)!

Basically there are two types of tooth stains – extrinsic stains (those that form on the outside of the teeth) and intrinsic stains (those that come from within).

Simple extrinsic stains can be removed by a good professional tooth cleaning and polishing. As these become more complex, tooth bleaching – either professional or over-the-counter, will be required.

Intrinsic stains, those that come from the inside of your teeth, are more difficult to remove and typically involve treatment from a dental professional.

A question that we are often asked at Falmouth Dental Arts is “Do those whitening kits I can buy at the drug store actually work?” The answer is: Maybe!

For easy to remove light staining, in some cases they can do the trick. Best of all, it certainly won’t hurt to try them! However, we find that most of our patients achieve mush better results with professionally supervised whitening. Not only are the materials stronger, but in many cases we fabricate a custom application tray which fits your teeth perfectly, allowing the whitening materials to work at their maximum.

The good news is, you no longer have to put up with yellow unsightly teeth! Modern tooth whitening techniques are one of the greatest, easiest to use, most predictable and economically comfortable advances we have seen in dentistry in a long time! At Falmouth Dental Arts we would be happy to discuss your teeth whitening options with you. Give us a call at 207-781-5900 and we’ll happily bring you in for a free whitening consultation. Our goal is to give the you biggest happiest smile possible!

3 Out of the 5 Bad Habits to Break Directly Effect the Health of Your Mouth

Everyone, and I mean everyone, has a bad habit (or three), and even if you’re not the resolution type, making one change this year can do wonders for your health, looks and self-esteem. Here are five common not-so-great habits, and how to break ’em for good.

  1. Bad habit: Nail Biting Stop now – Biting your nails makes for ugly hands and over time can interfere with normal nail growth, damage the outer layer of your teeth, and cause nail deformities such as split nails. Harmful bacteria such as staphylococcus also live underneath nails — and you don’t want to chew on that.Break it: Go for a professional manicure once every 2 or 3 weeks, suggests Angelica Kaner, PhD, a clinical professor at Yale University Medical School, because when your nails look pretty, you’ll be less likely to snack on them. At the very least, keep your nails trimmed short — you’ll have less nail to bite, and that harmful bacteria has less space to grow. Nail biting is also a nervous habit that is often an expression of some deeper anxiety. “Ask yourself why you’re feeling anxious,” Kaner says. You can also try substituting a new, healthy behavior — instead of biting your nails, rub in a cuticle cream or oil.
  2. Bad habit: Forgetting to Floss – Flossing helps prevent gum disease and keeps your teeth and gums looking good, but it may also stave off non-mouth-related diseases: A 2005 study in the journal Circulation showed that older adults with higher levels of four gum disease-causing bacteria in their mouths also tend to have thicker carotid arteries, which raise the risk of stroke and heart attack. That’s scary business, because 90% of dentists say that most patients don’t floss regularly.Break it: Buy a floss-holding device, such as the Flossmate Floss Holder to make the process easier and faster. In an Indiana University study, 50% of previous nonflossers were doing so regularly 6 months after introducing floss to their routine; 85% of the new flossers used a holding device — only 15% preferred doing without the aid. Then incorporate flossing into your morning routine before or after brushing.
  3. Bad habit: Late Night Fridge Raiding – Eating late at night in itself isn’t bad for you, but chances are you’re eating cold pizza instead of apple slices. Adding those extra calories does the late-night damage, according to a 2005 Oregon Health & Science University study. Snacking late at night can also exacerbate symptoms for those prone to heartburn, as lying down after eating makes it easier for stomach acid to flow into the esophagus.Break it Boredom, not hunger, is of the root cause of late-night eating, says Pamela Peeke, MD, author of Fit to Live. Once the craving hits, focus on an activity that engages you until it’s time to go to sleep, such as e-mail, a crossword puzzle, or meditation. It’s also common for people to chow down while watching TV. In fact, a study from the Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago found that people who were allowed to eat as many potato chips as they wanted ate 44% more chips while watching Letterman than while not watching TV. Keep your hands busy while you watch by folding laundry, using your BlackBerry, or knitting — that way you won’t be tempted to break out the Ruffles.
  4. Bad habit: Smoking – We don’t need to remind you of all the health risks associated with smoking (heart attack, lung cancer, emphysema, and cancer of the mouth, throat, stomach, bladder, kidney, and cervix), but here’s one you might not have considered: money. Lots of it. The cost of one pack plus taxes averages $4.49, so if you smoke a pack a day, you’re turning a whopping $1,639 a year into nothing but smoke, ashes, and nice black spots on your formerly pretty pink lungs.Break it: Ask your doctor about drugs that can help kick-start your quitting process and help you combat cravings and withdrawal. For instance, Zyban, an antidepressant, helps reduce psychological withdrawal symptoms such as frustration, restlessness, anxiety, and irritability. Chantix blocks the effects of nicotine on your brain, which helps reduce cravings. According to a study, 44% of smokers were able to quit after 12 weeks using Chantix, and another study showed that Zyban was nearly twice as effective as a nicotine patch in helping smokers quit.
  5. Bad habit: Sun Worshiping – Blame it on Coco Chanel — before she returned golden brown from a Mediterranean vacation in the 1920s, pale skin was in. But until the Morticia Addams look comes back in style, stick to self-tanning lotion: The sun’s UV rays damage your skin’s DNA, increasing your risk of skin cancer (not to mention sunspots, sagging skin, and wrinkles). In fact, as much as 90% of wrinkles, brown spots, and sagging are caused by sun damage, according to the American Skin Association.Break it: Wear sunscreen daily on the parts of your body that are exposed to the sun, even during winter. The skin cancer foundation recommends applying 1 ounce of SPF 15 sunscreen with UVA and UVB protection to your entire body 30 minutes before going outside on a typical day, and then reapply every 2 hours. If you’re spending the day outdoors, wear a wide-brimmed hat and cover exposed skin with clothing, preferably with built-in sunscreen.

Virtually Pain Free Dental Care

We know that many patients are apprehensive about receiving dental care. At Falmouth Dental Arts, we pride ourselves on our ability to make each patient as comfortable and relaxed as possible while receiving care.

First, at Falmouth Dental Arts we listen to your concerns. We then discuss different methods for making you as comfortable as possible. Together, we lay out a treatment plan that will meet your needs. We have several options:

1) Oral Sedation Dental Care Program – Many of Dr. Knock and Dr. Vocal’s patients prefer to relax through their dental care. Falmouth Dental Arts offers a Oral Sedation Care Program where qualified patients can just take a small pill and relax and in many cases have all of their dental needs taken care of in just one appointment. If this sounds right for you, just click here for more information.

2) Our Famous Virtually Painless Injection – Most of our patients at Falmouth Dental Arts never know they have received an injection. That’s because of Dr. Knock and Dr. Vocal’s famous virtually “Painless Injection” technique. A topical anesthetic is applied to the tissue with a swab. This anesthetic painlessly numbs the spot where the doctor will give you one of the most gentle injections.

3) Local Anesthetic For Pain Free Care – Injectable anesthetics given by Dr. Knock and Dr. Vocal, such as Lidocaine, prevent pain in a specific area of your mouth during treatment by blocking the nerves that sense or transmit pain and numbing mouth tissues.

They cause the temporary numbness often referred to as a “fat lip” feeling. Injectable anesthetics may be used in such procedures as filling cavities, preparing teeth for crowns or treating gum disease.

Bad Breath (halitosis) Can Be Treated At Falmouth Dental Arts

Dr. Knock and Dr. Vocal feel that while bad breath might be a symptom of some other disorder, it most likely stems from dental decay and periodontitis.
Periodontitis is a disease affecting gums and bone that support the teeth, and it results from inadequate tooth brushing and flossing. In this disease, the irritated gums pull away from the teeth and form pockets between the teeth and the gums. These pockets fill with bacteria and pus which give off a foul odor.

Patients with bad breath need a complete dental evaluation by Dr. Knock or Dr. Vocal. If gum disease and/or dental decay is diagnosed, it can be treated readily. The patient will no longer have an infection in his or her mouth, and he or she will no longer have the embarrassment of bad breath.

Please call our office at (207) 781-5900 if you have questions regarding halitosis.

Are You a Candidate for Oral Sedation Dentistry?

Who is a candidate for Oral Sedation Dentistry at Falmouth Dental Arts?

People who have . . .

  • High fear
  • Traumatic dental experiences
  • Difficulty getting numb
  • A bad gag reflex
  • Very sensitive teeth
  • Complex dental problems
  • Limited time to complete dental care

People who . . .

  • Hate needles and shots
  • Hate the noises, smells and taste associated with dental care
  • Are afraid or embarrassed about their teeth