Tuesday, 9 July 2013

White teeth (but not the Zadie Smith kind)


Yesterday,  I went to the dentist. After an uncomfortable (ie painful) session with the hygienist, it was the dentist's turn.

After he'd done his bit, I asked - just asked - about tooth-whitening. On holiday, we met lots of people from the US and Australia, with gleaming porcelain smiles; so ubiquitous were they that after a while, I felt quite embarassed about the state of my own teeth, and started mumbling through half-closed lips so no-one should see them. So I thought I'd just ask. I didn't want porcelain, I told him; just, well, just a bit whiter?

Dentist got out a little row of plastic teeth, arranged according to colour like a Dulux chart, but without the fancy names. Then he pointed to one near the Bad End. "That's yours", he said. "Yellowy grey"?  My teeth are yellows grey? It would seem that all that red wine has come home to roost. I tottered home in a state of shock.

But when I looked at them afterwards, they didn't look that bad. Not really. And whitening's very expensive. And (as dentist helpfully pointed out) doesn't last. And, said he, works better if you're young.

Well, that's me told. So I think I'll stay as I am. For the time being.

20 comments:

  1. I know just what you mean, I feel the same. On the other hand, people who've had their teeth over-whitened look as if they're wearing false teeth.

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  2. Best plan is to ALWAYS be drinking red wine and blame that. I'm sure that'd be more fun and probably no worse for your health than regularly filling your mouth with whatever chemicals they'd use to bleach your teeth.

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  3. I often look at the teeth of my generation compared to the perfect symmetrical white teeth of my children's generation and the conclusion I come to is that my friends' teeth (and mine) may not be perfect but they add individual character to that person. My dentist wants to remove the white spots on my front teeth but I think that these are a part of 'me'. It hasn't bothered me for 50 years so why should it be now.

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    1. I love the idea of spotted teeth, Wendy

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  4. I would recommend it Frances. I have no vested financial interest I might add. When I was around 64 my NZ family suggested that my teeth were pretty good but some whitening would help my appearance. As a red wine drinker there was no way over-whitening could occur anyway (in NZ and the UK - I can't speak for the US - false teeth are, by the way, very rarely over-white because they are usually given a more 'natural' look commensurate with the age of the recipient). So my NZ dentist (aka my NZ family!) made the necessary thingies that you put over your teeth and after the initial tests I went my merry way and have kept my teeth whiter ever since with occasional top ups (or is it tops up?). OK I didn't have huge dental fees to pay but once the initial moulds have been made the ongoings costs can be very modest. It's doing cosmetic work that pays for the dentist to have rather better wine than he might otherwise have. As an aside I have always remembered a comment by someone I met after the work had been done who remarked that I was fortunate to have such lovely teeth. I think It's the only complimentary remark I've ever had about one of my natural features. Actually that's not quite true. I was once told (in public) that I had a nice bum but I think that was just done to see if I'd get embarrassed. I didn't!

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  5. I have just one thing to say: Ross Geller! (character in the American TV-series Friends) See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q_zlAnZ-gXY

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    1. You should see that particular videoclip Frances; just looking up the character in general won't bring any enlightenment. The clip is from an episode where Ross has had his teeth bleached...

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  6. The natural colour of teeth is not white. OK, admittedly, the natural colour of my hair is not brown anymore, either, and yet I still keep it brown, for no other reason than my own vanity.
    But isn't whitening one's teeth doing something to the surface of the teeth that is not exactly good for them? I don't know anything about the process, really, but seem to remember having read something... somewhere. Oh well.
    Frances, I don't think people like other people any more because they've had their teeth whitened, or any less because they haven't. Maybe it's just that eternal strive to be "perfect".

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  7. Anyone volunteering for extra work at the dentist's seems to me incredibly brave!

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  8. When the time comes and my teeth need drastic work I've decided to have false ones. The idea of implants or braces, or constantly having them whitened is horrific. My mum and dad both had false teeth for as far back as I can remember. I never saw either of them without their teeth. They never popped them in a glass at night. So I think, for me, that's the way to go.

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  9. But Maggie, think of all those extractions you'd have to have first!

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  10. Wow. Being told that you have yellowy gray teeth can be a bit off putting and I can just imagine your shock. While it's still your choice whether you want to have yours whitened or not, it also does not hurt to have a pearly white smile. :)

    Calandra Novak @ WhitFordsDentist.com.au

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  11. Yes. Seeing other people with pearly white teeth can really be a bit intimidating, but I think we should also be contented with what we have. Maybe we just have to take better care of our teeth so that they maintain their original color and don't get yellowish.
    Javier Portocarrero

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  12. I have found a really nice whitening product that not as expensive as others. It’s a whitening pen from Stella white, I have used it for the last year and it has given me really good results :)

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