Do you look in the mirror and wish that your teeth were a little whiter and brighter? If so, you certainly aren't the only one. Teeth whitening is the most requested cosmetic dentistry treatment in the U.S. and numbers of patients choosing this procedure continue to rise year or year.
Our teeth take a beating during their lifetime, so a little discoloration and staining is to be expected. Nevertheless, having teeth that are less than perfectly white can have a detrimental effect on our confidence and self-esteem. Surveys and studies have consistently shown that teeth that are white and evenly-spaced will make us more attractive to those around us. White teeth are also considered to be hallmarks of health and success. When you consider these opinions, perhaps it isn't so surprising that teeth whitening is so popular after all.
The desirability of white teeth has meant that the teeth whitening product market has seen a surge of new products over the last decade. While there are many different toothpastes, mouthwashes, gels and pastes all claiming to have whitening capabilities, the results of such products tend to be short-lived and inconsistent. Professional, in-office teeth whitening is considered to be far superior and much longer-lasting, making it a good investment in the appearance of your smile.
There are some significant benefits to choosing in-office teeth whitening. These include:
- Professional-grade bleaching agents which lift stains much more effectively than over-the-counter alternatives.
- Better consistency in application of the whitening agent as it is performed by a dental professional with clear access to your teeth.
- A high level of care, before, during and after your procedure.
- Longer-lasting results.
Exactly how many sessions you will need depends on the color of your teeth when you start the process and the final shade that you hope to achieve. However, each whitening session is usually short with no downtime, meaning that it a convenient appointment for a lunch break, or before/after work.
While teeth whitening is non-invasive and safe for a wide variety of people, there are some group of people and individuals for whom teeth whitening is not a viable option.
- Healthy teeth
- Healthy gums
- Minimal or no cavity fillings
- Light to medium staining
- No allergies or sensitivities to bleaching products
Children People under the age of 16 are not suitable for teeth whitening. This is because the pulp chamber/nerve of teeth are enlarged until around 16 years of age, and whitening agents could cause them to become painful or irritated.
Women who are pregnant or nursing There is not enough research to suggest what effects whitening agents may have on the unborn baby, or a baby who is being breastfed. Therefore, it is recommended that the mother waits until her baby is no longer nursing before she pursues whitening treatment.
People who have allergies Bleaching agents can be harsh on teeth and gums, meaning that people who are prone to allergies or have any reaction to peroxide are not considered good candidates for whitening treatment.
Patients with lots of dental restorations Tooth-colored cavity fillings and resin composite material used in dental work do not whiten. This can lead to inconsistent results in patients with lots of dental work.
Patients with exposed roots, worn enamel, open cavities or gum disease Whitening agents that leak into existing areas of decay or damage can cause pain, irritation and infection.
Patients with very dark staining or internal damage Teeth whitening only works on the outer enamel, meaning that internal damage or staining will not be affected. Extreme discoloration or staining may also be impossible to remove, and patients are rarely satisfied with the final results of their treatment.
Those with teeth with thin enamel Teeth that have been badly eroded due to acid reflux or bruxism are impossible to whiten. The reason that they appear discolored is because the dentin in the middle of the tooth has begun to show through the thin, outer enamel.
Patients who smoke Smoking is a key cause of dental discoloration, and even if your nicotine stains are removed initially, if you continue to smoke they will inevitably return and the results of your treatment will be very short-lived.
If you are considering teeth whitening and would like to discuss your candidacy, contact us and our friendly, helpful team would be happy to schedule you an appointment. Please get in touch today. We look forward to helping you achieve a brighter, whiter and more vibrant smile.