Teeth whitening, or simply bleaching, is a straightforward, non-invasive dental solution for changing the color of natural tooth enamel, and to enhance the appearance of your smile.
Getting whiter teeth is considered the most popular esthetic concern for most dental patients. Common reasons for teeth whitening include:
- Normal wear of tooth enamel
- Excess fluoridation (fluorosis) during early tooth development
- Stained teeth due to smoking or medications like tetracycline
- Brown or yellow stained teeth
Generally, any patient above the age of 10 years can consider teeth whitening to enhance their smile and boost confidence. However, it is not recommended for patients with oral issues such as dental cracks, leaky fillings, or dental decay, because the whitening products may irritate the tooth nerve, resulting in discomfort or more damage. In addition, patients with short teeth or a gummy smile may not necessarily look better after bleaching because whiter teeth tend to accentuate a gummy smile.
Before you decide to whiten your teeth, it is important that you get a proper dental examination that includes X-rays to help establish the cause of tooth discoloration. In some cases, staining can be an indication of dental disease that requires a different treatment. But for simple whitening, options include bleaching from inside the tooth, for a dead tooth that has root canal, or a single-tooth bleaching tray for a living tooth.Once the cause and extent of discoloration and staining is known, you and your dentist can explore the different whitening options that apply to your case.
Teeth usually don’t get discolored uniformly. So your dentist will come up with an appropriate strategy to whiten each tooth sufficiently to give you a uniform smile. This means that you can also choose to whiten only one or two teeth, or more.
Restorations like tooth-colored fillings, veneers, bonding, bridges, and crowns do not stain or lighten. So, bleaching has no effect on existing dental restorations. As such, you may need to replace pre-existing dental work to match the new tooth shade achieved in your natural teeth following whitening.
Please visit your dentist to learn more about teeth whitening.