Basic Guide To Tooth Whitening

If you dream of a whiter smile, talk to your dentist about professional whitening options. These are generally safe and effective.

When is Whitening an Option?

Not all stains can be removed by whitening, as it only affects those stains present on the surface of the enamel. Any yellowing that is the result of thin enamel that allows the darker dentin layer of the tooth to show through, for example, will not respond to whitening. Dark stains that are within the enamel itself, such as fluoride spots or other pigmentation issues, also can't be removed by whitening.

Fortunately, these issues are relatively rare. Most tooth staining is caused by coffee, tea, dark wines, juices, or nicotine products. Tomato-based foods can also lead to stains. If teeth tend to yellow or darken over time, and if the discoloration is relatively evenly dispersed over the tooth surfaces, then chances are you are a great candidate for a dental whitening procedure.

Does Whitening Have Any Negative Side Effects?

Overall, professional whitening is perfectly safe. Your dentist will custom-mix a solution to whiten your teeth and use great care to make sure that there are no problems. The same can not be said for at-home kits, which can cause irritation if they aren't used exactly to package specifications. It's also best to schedule professional whitenings if you suffer from periodontal disease or gum sensitivity, as your dentist can choose the best whitening methods that won't irritate your gum condition.

The most likely side effect from a professional whitening is temporary tooth sensitivity. This means you may feel a little discomfort when eating or drinking anything piping hot or ice cold. Sensitivity typically fades in a few days. You can also use a special toothpaste that is formulated for sensitive teeth to minimize any discomfort.

How Can One Prolong a Whitening?

The effects of professional whitening can last for months with proper care. Most important for prolonging the whitening is to manage your diet carefully. Avoid dark-colored beverages like tea, coffee, and soda, as well as red wines, dark juices, and tomato-rich foods. If you do partake of these foods, rinse your mouth out afterward with water and brush as soon as possible.

Your dentist may also prescribe at-home procedures to prolong the professional whitening. They will make a custom-fit whitening tray for your teeth and supply you with a whitening paste formulated for your specific needs. Using the whitening tray as recommended can prolong the effects of a professional whitening by months.

Contact a dental office to learn more about the tooth whitening options available, like Family & Cosmetic Dentistry.