Why It’s Never Too Late to Enhance Your Smile

Think you’re too old to a smile makeover? Think again! No matter what your age, here are some ways you can get yourself a new smile:


why it's never too late to enhance your smile

photo by Vic on Flickr.

There are lots of ways to keep you body and mind in tip top condition in your later years. And the same applies to your smile!

With time, it’s natural for teeth to lose their luster. But no matter what age you are, you are never too old for an attractive smile. Here’s some things you should know about discolored teeth, and what you can do to turn them back into pearly whites:

What Causes Teeth to Discolor?

According to WebMD, there are three things that are the main culprits of teeth discoloration:

  • Chromogens. These are compounds with strong pigments that cling to enamel

  • Tannins. These are plant-based compounds that make it easier for stains to stick to teeth

  • Acids. These make it easier for stains to set in because they make tooth enamel softer and textured.


For many Americans, coffee is exactly what they need in the morning to get them going for the day. Unfortunately, this beverage has high amounts of acidity, weakening tooth enamel. Plus, coffee also has chromogens, which is obvious from the color. This causes teeth to darken and yellow overtime.


Believe it or not, “tea can cause stains worse than coffee,” according to Mark S. Wolff, DDS, PhD, professor at the New York University College of Dentistry. "Iced tea or brewed tea -- it doesn't matter." Now, a cup of tea every so often is not going to stain teeth as badly as a cup with every meal. Still, half of all Americans are consuming tea everyday, which contains acid and tannins to discolor teeth.


Along with gum disease, smoking can quickly make white teeth discolored and yellowed. The nicotine and tar found in smoking tobacco is what causes yellowing teeth. Heavy smokers often complain that their teeth are almost brown after years of smoking.


A delicious glass of red wine pairs great with many meals. However, drinking it on the regular is not conducive to a bright smile. Despite some of it’s health benefits, red wine can do damage to your teeth over time. It’s high in acid, has lots of tannins, and is high in chromogens as you can see by the deep color.

White wine has less chromogens, but is still high in acidity and tannins, making your teeth vulnerable to stains from other foods.


Healthcare professionals have found that tetracycline and beta-lactam antibiotics can cause stained and discolored teeth. This discolouration is thought to be caused by formation of deposits on the tooth surface, with teeth appearing to have brown, yellow or grey stains

Why are Seniors more susceptible to tooth stains?

As you age, the protective layer of the tooth’s enamel thins. Over time, the natural yellow color of your teeth’s dentin (core tissue) is revealed. Dentin also yellows with age naturally. Plus, years and years of consuming foods and beverages that stain teeth build up throughout your lifetime, causing more discoloration. Still, the key to enjoyable longevity is dental vitality, and it’s never a bad time to enhance your smile.

The Best Options for Whitening Teeth:

Over-the-counter whitening treatments have become more popular in recent years. However, certain discolorations and tooth stains sometimes don’t respond to even professional teeth whitening treatments. Patients with the following problems are not good candidates for at home or professional whitening treatments:

  • intrinsic stains that are immune to bleaching

  • dental sensitivity

  • stains that only affect a few teeth

In these situations, there are other more effective options to get the white smile you want:


Veneers are often used to mask teeth that have severe intrinsic stains, fill in chips and gaps, or reshape teeth. Usually composed out of porcelain, they are custom-made to to match your natural smile. The thin shells attach directly to the front of your teeth, correcting minor orthodontic adjustments. Most patients will have a veneer placed on one or two teeth while the rest of their smile is enhanced by a whitening treatment to match. If you choose this whitening process, the dentist will perform the whitening treatment first so that your veneers will be the same shade as your new teeth.

To prepare your teeth for a veneer, your dentist will need to reshape and lightly buff the tooth to take on the thickness of the covering. Then, a molded image of the reshaped tooth is taken and sent to a dental lab where a custom-made porcelain veneer is constructed to fit your mouth. It usually takes a couple of weeks for the veneer is ready. You dentist will then use a dental cement to bond the veneer to the original tooth. The adhesive is hardened by a curing light, and then you’re ready to enjoy your new smile.

It’s crucial that you stay up-to-date with treatments because veneers don’t respond to future whitening the same way that natural teeth do. You can ask your dentist how to maintain the shade of your smile to make sure that the veneers and natural enamel continue to match for years to come.


Dental bonding is often used to whiten a patient’s entire smile. The process is similar to that of porcelain veneers. Because it’s a fairly simple procedure, it doesn't usually require an anesthetic.  First, your dentist will roughen the tooth before adding an adhesive. Then, they will apply tooth-colored composite resin to the teeth. After carefully sculpting the material to cover up flaws and match your natural tooth shape, the material will be hardened and set with an ultraviolet light. Afterwards, your practitioner may polish the teeth for added luster.

Additional treatments:

Why stop at a whiter smile? You may desire to improve other aspects of your teeth. When you combine more than two cosmetic treatments, this is called a smile make-over.

What’s A Smile Make-Over?

A smile make-over is for someone who has good overall oral health but wants to enhance different aspects of their smile. This cosmetic dental process generally covers a broad range of aesthetic flaws, including:

  • Discolored teeth

  • Eroded or misshapen teeth

  • Cracks or chips in teeth

  • Crooked teeth

  • Disproportionately sized teeth

  • Gapped teeth

  • "Gummy" smiles

Cost of Cosmetic Dental Procedures

So you’re ready to get your teeth back to their former glory, but there’s just one question: how much will it cost?

Teeth whitening and other cosmetic improvements are an elective procedure to boost confidence and appearance. Although they are not necessary for oral health, they don’t have to be out of your price range. Even if your insurance does not cover cosmetic dental procedures, there are a few other ways to get the smile you want:

  • Financing
    In-house repayment plans are offered by most dental practices. Typically, you can pay off the full cost of a procedure in only a few months because those treatments are generally affordable to begin with.

  • Tax Deductible
    Even if your insurance does not cover cosmetic dental procedures, it may be tax deductible. If you’re a broadcaster or entertainer, for example, it could be considered as a business expense to further your career.

  • Discount Dental Plans
    If you don’t have insurance or the insurance you have does not cover cosmetic procedures, you can consider getting a discount dental plan membership. They offer discounted rates on a variety of procedures —some of which are not covered by insurance at all. You can find more information about the Carefree Dental discount plan here.

So, what’s holding you back from getting the smile you’ve always wanted?


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