Q: I drink a lot of coffee, and I love my red wine. However, lately I have noticed that my teeth are not as white. Is this a normal part of aging, and can I reverse it?
A: Yes, it’s normal, and yes, we can greatly improve your look. Teeth darken in color as
a result of staining. The stains are usually brown, yellow and orange or a combination.
Pigments in food cause a gradual darkening of teeth. Tea and coffee are the most
common causes of discoloration. Smoking, or antibiotics also take their toll. Consult a
good dentist for effective, safe teeth whitening techniques.
Q: I have a broken tooth on the right side of my mouth. It’s making me a nervous wreck because I’m realizing that’s the side I like to chew on. I’m taking lots of over-the-counter pain pills. The thought of just walking into a dentist’s office literally makes me shake with anxiety. What else can I do to ease the pain? Ice? Heat? Help!
A: In the past, going to the dentist was a painful experience, and one which people
dreaded with good reason. Not only were procedures often painful, but the sound of the
drill often upset people as well. Well, all that is history. Dental equipment is far more
sophisticated. The sound of the drill is now no more than a soft whine, and pain relief
is readily available. Dental procedures are now virtually painless, so don’t put off your
dental appointment. If anxiety still gets in the way, we use medications, such as “happy
gas,” so go head, and make that appointment today.
Q: I am 45, and in four months I’ll hope to be getting ready for a class reunion. In the past few years, I’ve had a lot of dental work done, and I wear an upper denture. To be honest, I hate the way it feels, and I hate the way it looks. I don’t look like the old “me.” Even my speech is affected. Shall I try to get this fixed, or just forget about going to the dance?
A: Send in that RSVP to the reunion, and make an appointment to have your denture
adjusted. A consultation with your dentist will reassure you that your smile, your fit, and
your speech, will be improved before the big event.
Q: I’m a boomer. Is it too late for me to get braces? When I was a teenager, I felt like I was lucky not to be a “metal-mouth.” But now I feel self-conscious about my crooked teeth. Shall I put orthodontia on my bucket list?
A: No, it’s not too late! Old, as well as young people need to look good, and to feel
good about themselves. The way we look affects our confidence. When we feel good
about how we look, we are more sociable. When we can chew properly, we maintain our
nourishment. This all affects general health.
Q: I’m kind of a worrier, and through the years, I feel like my teeth are grinding down. I stop myself when I’m aware of it, but I can’t do anything about grinding my teeth in my sleep. Or can I?
A: Normal eating eventually causes the chewing and biting surfaces of teeth to be worn down, and the teeth become flattened and shorter. This is called attrition. If you grind your teeth as well, this is called bruxism, and it can cause serious tooth wear. Consult
with your dentist about a night guard, and painless plastic insert that will not only stop
the grinding, it might help you get a much better night’s sleep.
Q: When I drink ice-cold drinks, my teeth actually hurt. I also feel uncomfortable
when I drink piping hot coffee (the way I like it), or very sweet foods. Is this
A: This can be caused be teeth wearing down and the dentine becoming exposed.
Sensitivity to hot, cold and sweet foods and drinks causes pain. This pain can be sharp,
but will stop when the cause is removed, i.e., when the food or drink is no longer in the
Q: I looked in the mirror today, and actually saw my gums drooping! Is this what they call “long in the tooth”? What can I do about it?
A: Most people have gum disease at some time or another, which results in gum
recession or shrinkage. Untreated gum disease causes the gum to lose its original
attachment to the tooth. The gum then reattaches itself to the tooth at a lower level. The
tooth then looks longer, the gums bleed easily, and the teeth can eventually become
loose. Before all that happens, see your dentist for a good gum treatment strategy.