WHAT IS TEETH WHITENING?
Teeth whitening brightens your teeth while removing stains and discoloration. Whitening is one of the most popular cosmetic dental procedures due to its ability to improve the appearance of teeth. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), tooth whitening products typically contain one of two active tooth ingredients – hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. These bleaches break stains into smaller pieces and make the color less concentrated, resulting in brighter teeth.
There are two primary types of whitening procedures:
- Vital Whitening: Vital whitening is the most common type of whitening. During an in-office procedure, your dentist will have the ability to use strong whitening gel along with a specialized light allowing bleaching to happen faster. It is performed on teeth that have live nerves. It uses a gel that applies to the surface of your tooth. This product contains a form of hydrogen peroxide.
- Non-Vital Whitening: Non-vital whitening is used to treat intrinsic staining on teeth and is most commonly done on a tooth with a root canal treatment.
CAN ALL TEETH BE WHITENED?
Discoloration on crowns, caps, veneers and fillings typically does not respond well to the whitening process. Brown, gray and black teeth caused by injury or medication also do not typically respond to the whitening methods. Some discoloration in teeth is a sign of a more severe problem and should be checked immediately by your dental health provider.
Dentin, the hard, inner part of the teeth, is primarily responsible for tooth color. As we age, our enamel becomes thinner and our dentin darkens, making our teeth appear more yellow. Fortunately, yellow tooth discoloration typically responds well to teeth whitening products.
WHAT SHOULD I DO FIRST IF I AM CONSIDERING TEETH WHITENING?
Before whitening your teeth, your first course of action is to discuss options with your dentist, especially if you consider an at-home whitening product. Your dentist can assess your teeth and advise on the best treatment. They can also fill you in on how frequently you should whiten, as results can vary and require re-application to maximize results. Your dentist can also assess whether stains can be removed with regular dental cleanings, which don’t need chemical applications on your teeth.
Women who are pregnant should not have their teeth whitened. Teeth whitening is a cosmetic procedure, and it should be postponed until after delivery.
WHAT ARE THE PROS OF TEETH WHITENING?
The most obvious benefit of teeth whitening is cosmetic. A brighter smile can improve self-confidence. Teeth whitening is a procedure that people can and will notice, but most importantly, it will make you feel more confident to flash that beautiful smile. Additionally, the process is convenient and fast and the costs can be low, depending on which type of whitening you choose. Finally, there are many shades and choices in treatments and a low risk of harm to your teeth, should you whiten them.
WHAT ARE THE CONS OF TEETH WHITENING?
One of the most common complaints about teeth whitening is mild gum irritation and sensitivity. In addition, higher concentrations of products left on for more extended periods can intensify sensitivity. However, it is necessary to note that this is usually a temporary issue and will lessen after a few days.
Knowing that the whitening process won’t work on certain stains also helps keep expectations in check and keeping your dentist informed will help you navigate potential risks. To minimize possible side effects, follow the instructions carefully and seek the supervision of your oral healthcare provider. The ADA recommends only whitening after consulting with your dentist to maximize results and reduce risks.
At Smiles For Health we offer a variety of cosmetic dentistry services so you can smile with confidence. Call today to schedule your appointment!