Why do I want to talk about yellow teeth when everyone speaks about white ones?

Today I have more than 10 years of experience in treating the yellow teeth. I get invited to train dentists around he world in this topic. Even in dental circles, the confusion is huge. High number of online texts, often written by uneducated authors, additionally confuses the readers.

The awful truth is: 80% of Austrians are unhappy with the color of their teeth

But let me tell you a secret: the problem of yellow teeth is easy to treat.

When conducted professionally, the procedure is completely safe, with no danger for your teeth. That is why I dived into teeth whitening options right from the beginning of my career, and that is why I decided to write this article.

Why did my teeth turn yellow?

Here is the big truth: despite of regular cleaning and good oral hygiene your teeth can easily turn yellow.

This happens naturally over the years.

Contrary the common belief, the main reason is not (so much) on the surface of the tooth but deep inside! The more a tooth is exposed to mechanical pressure (normal chowing of the food or grinding and clenching) the more compact becomes its core (dentin). This is something we see as darker yellow color.

So it is only logical that older people will have more yellowish color. That is why others will intuitively connect white looking smile with youth and vitality. People who have clenching habit or specific chewing patterns will develop yellow tooth color very early in life.

Of course, food will also play a role in tooth color, but a very different one. Acid-containing drinks and foods can roughen our teeth and pigments present in food can then easily color it.

No wonder we all want a beautiful smile: It is grown to be a synonym for success and health. But not everyone is happy enough to be a candidate for direct bleaching. Sometimes teeth need to be prepared. Mostly it takes just professional cleaning. Sometimes it is necessary to make new fillings prior to starting the bleaching.

Depending on how the yellow teeth developed in your case, you can restore the white teeth color through

  • professional dental cleaning (if the teeth changed the color because of superficial staining due to food, drinks and smoking)
  • bleaching (if the teeth turned yellow due to natural ageing or to pressing and clenching)
  • or a combination of those.

Pro tip: Very often I see patients whose front teeth seem white enough but canines are more yellow. My experience showed that these cases best react to supervised bleaching with gel or varnish (read below).

After just a few days of mild whitening the canines will reach the color of front teeth. This dramatically improves the overall impression of the smile, making it look whiter and younger- but completely natural.

Bleaching: what are the experiences

When conducted professionally this is a procedure after which patients typically report high satisfaction. However, the bleaching effect is highly individual and depends on the initial teeth colour, as well as our habits before, during and after the bleaching. Pro Tipp: everyone  has the naturally lightest colour that can be reached. In very rare cases (an estimated 5% of the population) teeth are resistant to even the best bleaching method.

Bleaching before / after pictures

How long does the bleaching result hold?

…is the second question everyone asks (the first being: which is the best bleaching method:). So, when do the teeth turn dark again?

Once we finished bleaching the factors that caused discolouration on the first place, keep working. This causes a small decrease in results with time.

For some people this happens in one year. For some it never does.

Additionally to bleaching, in our office we provide you valuable information of how to keep your white teeth from staining. Finally, when discussing the best bleaching method for you we make sure we also develop an inexpensive plan for later possible color corrections.

Which teeth-bleaching methods are good

The first bleaching method that was discovered 1982 is bleaching based on peroxide.

Today, 40 years later, we know this: When conducted properly, this is a safe and effective procedure. Moreover we can rely on 40 years of scientific and clinical evidence that it works.

In last couple of years market saw many new systems using various kinds of lights (bleaching lamps and similar). I

nitially it was believed that this light may enhance the bleaching effect of the bleaching material. However we know now that this is not the case. Light (Lamp) has no significant influence on bleaching effect.

Lasers proved to be more effective than normal lights, but there are scientifically based concerns that lasers may also joepardize the tooth nerv.

That is why today, bleaching based on peroxide is considered the golden standard and the best practice in terms of safety and effectiveness. Among the peroxide based bleaching we will have many different concentrations and application modalities.

Here are some examples:

  • 35% Hydrogen based bleaching gel is a great product but can only be used by a professional. This means dentist or preventive care assistant who attended special trainings for teeth whitening. This  material is used for bleaching in dental office. As everything is done by medically trained staff it is called medical bleaching. Dental hygienist or a dentist will apply a gum protection and then bleaching product 2 times in sequence.
  • Products containing 0,1-6% peroxide (or an equivalent of 3×6%=18% carbamide peroxide, which has the same effect) may be used at home, but only after an examination and detailed instruction by dental professional. In order to ensure the bleaching is safe for you, dentist will make sure your teeth are free from caries, enamel defect, exposed tooth necks and give you the detailed instructions. Since everything happens under the expert eye, this protocol is called supervised bleaching. In order to make sure those safety measures are followed, the law only allows those products to be bought by the dentist. Therefore those high-end products are not available to cosmeticians and general population
    • The  most commonly used home bleaching products for supervised bleaching are bleaching gel for splint (you need to go to the office 2 times and -bleaching procedure takes 14 days) and
    • bleaching varnish (you go to the office only one time, and the bleaching procedure takes only 7 days).
  • According to the EU law, bleaching products that your can get over the counter (like bleaching toothpaste, stick, bleaching pen…) or in a beauty saloon can contain maximum of 0,1% hydrogen peroxide. As this is extremely low concentration, it is consider that even in unprofessional use this shouldn’t cause any damage, but also excerpts very slow (if any) effect.

Which is the best bleaching method?

Short answer to which method is the best: it is completely individual!

For some of us it is better to sit in the office and have the professional do everything. For those, best option would be medical bleaching in office.

Others prefer to have complete control over the process. If you are like this: you will benefit from supervised bleaching, as the dentist will make sure you are medically fit for home-based bleaching and will instruct you and give the optimal material, bleaching gel with tray or a varnish.

If you want to give a bought product a chance, make sure you consulted the dentist first, so you know what your teeth can handle bleaching. Dentist will check the teeth for fillings, possible enamel defects and caries, and help you plan your bleaching in a safe way.

Negative experience after bleaching: why does it happen?

When we talk about bleaching, it is important to know that the biggest danger does not lie in the medical bleaching substance (peroxide), because law regulated that only professionals can use high concentrations.

The biggest danger lays in additional substances that sometimes get added in the cosmetic bleaching products or the products you can buy in the drug store.

The explanation is easy: medical products undergo a series of investigations, laboratory and clinical studies before they can be put in the market.Contrary to that- cosmetic products have no such control, and it often happens that they can hide harmful substances.

Those substances excerpt false bleaching effect by roughening your teeth, making them chalk-white, which is a very short lived effect. In time, this roughened surface gathers the brown pigmentations and can additionally cause caries.

All of this will lead to negative experience and possible dental problems far worse than simple pain.

This is a very typical story I hear from many patients, so I want to give you a tip: even if you decide to go for a market ready product, make sire you check whether it contains something that ends with -peroxide. If it doesn’t: it will most probably not work- or it will be harmful.

Cost of Bleaching in Vienna

According to Austrian law, we are not allowed to disclose the prices for medical bleaching online. One reason is also the fact, that we plan and conduct whitening (like any other therapy) individually. Only then we know which kind of bleaching is suitable for you (and the prices of different methods vary).

Sometimes there are certain preparation steps that have to be conducted in order to prepare the teeth for bleaching, like remove the caries, protect the free tooth necks or similar. This can also affect the cost of the treatment.

For an estimation you may count on the bleaching costs in Wien of 350-600 eur. Please use our contact form if you have a more specific question. Most insurances are reluctant to cover the costs of this procedure, but we do support you nonetheless by preparing the bills in such a form that you can try and ask your insurance for refund.

Bleaching during pregnancy?

Medical procedures can not be tested on pregnant, breast feeding women and kids. That is why we do not advise bleaching if you are pregnant or breast feeding. Bleaching can easily be either conduced prior to pregnancy or moved to after breast feeding is over.

Summary:

  • Teeth can turn yellow in a natural process. This can be more or less expressed at each individual.

  • Yellow teeth can be lightened in 95% of the cases. For this we use a procedure called bleaching.

  • Today the science considers bleaching based on peroxide safe and effective (when conducted properly) and advises caution when using other methods.

  • Bleaching can be conducted in office or at home under the professional guidance.

  • The teeth colour may relapse n time, so your dentist should advise on how to handle touch-ups.