Dear Dr. Ellie:
After a week on the system (although not yet with Regular Crest, until it arrives), my teeth are extremely shiny and smooth. I’m very pleased about that, but what I’m really hoping is that my horrible yellow teeth (due to thin enamel, I’m told) will eventually become whiter. Is that really possible? Can the enamel become thicker under your system, so that the dentin doesn’t show through? Or does your system achieve a whitening effect by a different method? I find the blog a little confusing here. My teeth have always looked better in my window less bathroom under fluorescent light (and my hair looks lighter, too), but in natural daylight the yellowness looks much worse. My daughter got married last weekend and I had to smile for the photos with my mouth closed. The color of my teeth really is that bad I’ve seen myself in other photos. I realize improvement may be a slow process (up to two years, you said), but I’m prepared to be patient if the results will eventually come.
I look forward to your reply when you have time.
To answer your question about how teeth appear white a complete answer is in the “Whitening” chapter of my book Kiss Your Dentist Goodbye.
Basically the color of teeth is affected by the way light bounces off the translucent outer coating of the tooth the enamel. The enamel is made up of lots of little prisms that reflect light from the surface.
Basically the softer the “glass” coating the easier it is for light to travel through it so you “see” the yellow color of live dentin underneath. The idea of bleaching/whitening teeth makes no sense when you consider this.
Most of the cheaper products scratch the surface which may take off surface stains but will also take away the hardest part of the tooth the outer layer of this glass enamel. Peroxide products travel through this glass layer and bleach the inside part of the tooth to lighten it this is like bleaching skin.
There are live cells in contact with these products and they have many studies to show that these live cells are not happy with the bleaching process! Truth is, they MAY recover after a few weeks but we really don’t know for sure the long term damage…..and it is probably worse for children than for an older adults.
The best way to improve the color of teeth is to put minerals into this “glass” layer. This turns the glass into a kind of “diamond” to reflect light and make teeth appear white. Also the smoother the surface the better light reflects off this layer.
The combination of rinses that I recommend helps put minerals into this layer and also makes the outer surface smoother. The benefits will continue for years and will take your teeth to the best possible NATURAL color they can be.
If you have a naturally darker tooth color you may want to have a one time bleaching to lighten the inside tooth. You would cause some damage but (like any cosmetic surgery) the benefits may be worth it to you.
I suggest you approach this as a one time event done by the best dentist you can find. Save up and pay for a very protected treatment in a couple of years.
Then you can return to my system and get the damaged strength repaired again as quickly as possible. Many people have found their teeth suddenly improve in color after about 6 months.
My mother is in her late 80s and all her friends are using this program and impressing one another to their delight! I encourage you to be patient and to work on protecting the strength of your teeth protect teeth with xylitol after anything sweet or acidic.
Hope this answers your question!