What are the Risks of Teeth Whitening?
It is important to visit your dentist before you considering whitening your teeth. Your dentist can examine your teeth and gums to determine if you are a good candidate for whitening and discuss any possible risks.
The most common risks associated with teeth whitening are increased tooth sensitivity and causing damage to the roots of teeth. Your dentist can help determine if you are likely to experience increased sensitivity as a result of the procedure. The dentist can also help prevent sensitivity by recommending specific procedures and toothpastes that are designed for sensitive teeth. Dentists can evaluate any signs of root damage caused by tooth whitening and treat the condition to prevent it from progressing.
Teeth often change color and become darker or more yellow over time. The internal section of the teeth darken naturally over time. Personal habits such as smoking or drinking coffee, tea and wine can also result in stains. Some medications can also cause tooth discoloration.
Regular teeth cleaning conducted at your dental office can help remove any surface level stains. The professional cleaning also promotes good oral health. It is important to visit your dentist for a thorough cleaning and examination before you whitening your teeth. The professional teeth cleaning may be all you need to obtain a brighter, whiter smile.
Teeth whitening is successful for about 90% of patients. Yellow-colored teeth generally respond well to whitening. Brownish or gray colored teeth may not respond as well. Gray stains which are usually caused by smoking or ingesting too much fluoride are not typically changed by tooth whitening.
Tooth whitening may not improve your smile if you have had bonding or tooth-colored fillings in your front teeth. These materials will not be effected by the bleach and they will not match your whitened teeth. Other options such as veneers or dental bonding may be more successful in these situations.
Below are some issues to consider before you decide to whiten your teeth:
- Is whitening recommended by your dentist? Not all stains can be effectively lightened by an over-the-counter or professional bleaching solution. Your dentist can evaluate your oral health and help give you guidance. Your dentist may discourage tooth whitening if you have sensitive teeth, gum disease or teeth with worn enamel.
- Is teeth whitening worth the cost? Professional tooth whitening procedures are not typically covered by dental insurance plans. Be sure to check your plan’s coverage before beginning treatment.
- Should you use a professional treatment or an at-home whitening solution? Teeth whitening can be performed by your dentist or at home. It is recommended to have your dentist oversee any whitening treatment, including over-the-counter options. While the over-the-counter treatments are less expensive, they typically require more time to achieve the desired results. This can also increase the risk of gum irritation or damaging previous dental work. For patients who desire quicker and more reliable results, they should pursue in-office whitening or laser whitening. In-office whitening sometimes requires multiple visits for the desired results. Dentist-supervised whitening procedures can last up to a few years.
Remember, good daily oral health habits such as regular brushing and flossing, in addition to regular dental checkups and cleanings are excellent ways to maintain a bright and healthy smile.
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