Tooth Color

Tooth Color
Tooth color is highly dynamic. Tooth color changes drastically in the same individual: Our baby teeth are very white, our adult teeth emerge with more yellow hues which tend to become darker as we age. Tooth color also tends to be different within the same person’s mouth; the central incisors “Front teeth” tend to be whiter and brighter than our canines (“eye teeth”) and molars. Even the same tooth has significant color change as we trace from top to bottom. Teeth are thought to get darker as we age for three reasons: 1) Thicker layers yellow dentin develop below our white translucent enamel 2) Enamel gradually wears / thins over the decades 3) Enamel can gather slight staining on the outer surface. Understanding tooth color is an important aspect in fixing a tooth to make is look natural.

Keeping teeth clean in the first place is the best defense for slowing the darkening; whitening and veneers can be used to brighten teeth beyond what cleaning can take care of.

Sheep Shearing

sheep shearing

What do sheep shearing and dentistry have common? Over the weekend Varinos Dental Associates of Watertown sponsored the premier spring event in Waltham/Watertown – the annual Sheep Shearing festival held on the grounds of the Gore Mansion. No sheep were harmed in the shearing!


Sometimes it our own jaw muscles causing the most damage to our teeth. Grinding is usually out of our conscious control because it happens at night. Pictured are signs and consequences of grinding teeth. Most of the time a custom fit “nightguard” placed between the teeth while sleeping is enough to prevent from the teeth wearing on one another, which in turn prevents tooth damage and tooth loss.

Root Canal!? Sounds painful

Just hearing the words, “Root canal” invokes fear in the minds of many patients. This bad rap is very much unwarranted. With today’s modern methods of making teeth profoundly numb, quite the opposite is true – a patient can arrive in a state of severe pain and be comfortable within minutes. In other cases, the nerve of the tooth has already died. No, there is not much to feel when the root canal is being performed, cleansing out dead material and bacteria from the center of the tooth. Dentists who perform root canals often comment that their patients keep falling asleep during the procedure! A root canal lets you keep your own tooth, and can certainly resolve dental pain!

Gray tooth?

Have you noticed that one of your teeth seems to have become a bit more gray than your other white teeth? This coloration is often a sign that the tooth has died, that is to say there is no longer a blood and nerve supply inside of the tooth. This so-called “necrotic” tooth needs to be treated – a tooth with no blood supply becomes overwhelmed with bacteria causing a dental infection. Seeking the services of a dentist not only clears the infection but can also crown the tooth to match the others perfectly – returning your smile and you oral health back to normal.

Athletic Mouthguard – An ounce of prevention

Athletic Mouthguards

Sports such as hockey, cheerleading, soccer, skiing, and basketball are notorious for generating tooth injuries. Athletic guards, especially those made by dentists, are proven to be highly effective in preventing mouth injuries. On average, a sports-related dental injury costs $1000 to fix in addition to time and pain to the patient. A dentist-fabricated mouthguard is around $100 and it made to fit to your unique mouth so it naturally stays in place.

Oh no! Broken Tooth!

Ok, so you somehow broke your tooth. It may hurt, but don’t let panic overwhelm you – your dental team can get you looking good and on the path to cosmetic and healthy recovery in short order. TJ_BeforeAfterSameDaySeveral points: 1) Call the dentist ASAP; depending on the situation, some things are best handled within the first hour after the incident, such as a tooth being knocked out entirely. 2) Try to save the broken piece of tooth or the knocked-out tooth. This can be a very useful tool for creating what you had before the injury. 3) If possible, get a cell phone picture of the injury to the dentist before the appointment. This helps us prepare for the type of appointment upcoming, and is a valuable piece of documentation for your medical record. Below is a recent injury we treated same day – the patient left with an esthetic temporary crown which will serve him well until treatment is completed in a few weeks.

Tooth Pain: What NOT to do

Here are two things not to do if you have a toothache: 1) Place aspirin in your cheek near the problematic tooth. 2) Continuous swishing with hydrogen peroxide. Neither of these techniques alleviates the underlying problem, and can cause severe chemical burns on the gums / cheeks that will augment the discomfort. Below is what a typical aspirin burn looks like.