Should You Whiten Your Teeth?

Whitening your teeth removes discoloration and brightens your smile. Most dentists perform whitening and there are some things that you can do at home to whiten your teeth. While tooth whitening is one of the most popular cosmetic procedures that are performed, it is not right for everyone.

Why Is Whitening Needed?

As we age, our teeth generally begin to appear darker as the enamel thins and the dentin inside of the teeth darkens. Teeth may also appear stained or yellow because of tobacco use and frequent consumption of beverages like coffee and red wine. Additionally, the pores of the enamel may hold discolorations. Whitening can help to remove these stains and discolorations from the teeth and may even brighten teeth that appear darker due to aging.

When Shouldn’t You Whiten Your Teeth?

You may not be a good candidate for whitening if you have crowns, veneers, tooth decay, or receding gums. If you have crowns or veneers, whitening will not be effective. If you have receding gums or tooth decay, whitening may make your teeth more sensitive and cause discomfort. If you have stains inside of your teeth from early exposure to fluoride, trauma, or damage to the roots of teeth, whitening will not help – although there are other procedures that may. A dentist in Orlando will be able to help you determine whether you are a good candidate for whitening.

How Are Teeth Whitened at the Dentist?

If teeth have cavities, they will need to be filled in preparation for whitening. Before whitening, teeth will have to be thoroughly cleaned to remove bacteria and any other substances on the teeth. After this is done, a gel is applied directly to the teeth and a specialized light is directed at the teeth to help activate the gel. The procedure takes about 30 to 90 minutes and is usually performed several times for maximum whitening.

Teeth Whitening at Home

You may perform whitening at home, using trays that your dentist will create for you to use. The trays are formed to fit your teeth exactly and hold whitening gel on your teeth. Dentists will usually recommend that you whiten your teeth daily for about two to three weeks. Home remedies and over-the-counter whitening solutions are also available, but these are usually not as effective and may even cause harm. Consult a dentist before using whitening solutions at home to lower risks of complications.

Follow Up Whitening Appointments

Whitening will not last permanently, it will need to be preformed periodically to keep your teeth looking bright. You may be able to reuse customized trays to re-whiten your teeth at set intervals according to a schedule that is recommended by your dentist. Your dentist may also make suggestions to help you minimize staining.

If you would like to see what whitening can do for you, ask your dentist if you would be a good candidate for the procedure.