Teeth Whitening- Key to a Dazzling Smile

March 4, 2019 By Dr Raj Patel 0

What Is Teeth Whitening?

Teeth whitening is a safe and effective way to lighten stains and discolouration on the surface of your teeth. It is a popular and affordable cosmetic dental procedure that can significantly improve your smile’s aesthetic.

Is Teeth Whitening Suitable for Me?

For most people teeth whitening produces incredible results. But, tooth whitening only works on natural teeth and surface stains, so it won’t lighten teeth with dental restorations such as crowns, bridges, cosmetic bonding from porcelain veneers, or tooth-coloured fillings.

Why Teeth Turn Yellow

Yellowing teeth is associated with ageing. Wear and tear on your teeth can make your enamel thinner. If your tooth enamel is thin, the dentin shows through giving the appearance of yellow teeth.

Pores on the surface of enamel can hold stains which turn teeth yellow. Tea, coffee, wine and tobacco are common surface stains. 

Other factors may cause teeth to turn yellow:

  • Falling on and hitting a tooth
  • Taking powerful antibiotics at a young age
  • Exposure to too much fluoride
  • Silver Fillings
  • Genetics
  • Poor oral hygiene

How Teeth Whitening Works

Teeth whitening works by changing the colour inside the teeth (dentin) and removing stains from the pores of the outer enamel.

Whitening the inner part of the tooth makes the colour reflected appear whiter and brighter overall. Using bleach whitening treatments lightens the inner dentin, not the outer enamel.

Outer enamel stains can be easily removed by a dental hygienist or by using a whitening toothpaste. Whitening strips and pens may work well on superficial surface stains to make your smile appear whiter and brighter.

Is Teeth Whitening Safe?

Teeth whitening is safe when the manufacturer’s instructions have been followed.  Although bleaching gels have a neutral pH level, they can irritate your gums and oral tissues if used incorrectly. Also, don’t use tooth whitening bleaches more often than recommended. Studies show these products can wear away tooth enamel, increasing tooth sensitivity and may even cause tooth decay. 

Microscopic cracks along dental fillings increase the likelihood of tooth sensitivity. It is important you ensure all dental restorations are taken care of before a teeth whitening procedure. 

Experts advise that pregnant or nursing women avoid teeth whitening because the potential impact of accidentally swallowing whitening chemicals on the foetus or breast-feeding baby is unknown.  

Take your teeth whitening journey slow for the safest and best results. Visit your dentist to determine a treatment plan for tooth whitening. A thorough examination is essential to determine if bleaching is the right course of treatment. Your GDC registered dentist can perform the teeth whitening procedure or supervise an at-home teeth whitening option, so you can safely achieve the teeth-whitening results you want.

Is Teeth Whitening Permanent?

Teeth whitening is not a permanent solution for stained teeth. The results vary depending on the teeth whitening procedure used and your lifestyle. 

Your enamel remains porous so the foods and drinks you consume continue to deposit stains on your teeth.

Having your teeth whitened in a dentist’s office tends to be more effective with longer lasting results. Your dentist can also provide you with aftercare advice and recommend products you can use to touch-up your smile. 

You can extend the lifespan of your teeth whitening procedure by avoiding teeth-staining foods and practising good oral hygiene.

Benefits of Teeth Whitening

Teeth whitening can have personal benefits, such as a boost in self-esteem. With a brighter smile, you can have more self-confidence to talk to people and smile freely. A whiter smile improves your mental health by allowing yourself more, or closer contact with other people. Teeth whitening also benefits your overall oral health. A professional teeth whitening treatment from your dentist can help your teeth become stronger and appear whiter; this helps your tooth’s enamel over time.