Bright, white, clean teeth are not just healthy and aesthetically pleasing, but reflect volumes about your personality, diet and your grooming habits. However particular you are about dental care, the colour of your teeth will change with age. Habits such as smoking can discolour the shade over time, as can consumption of certain acidic foods and beverages, such as wine, coffee or certain medications. While teeth whitening agents and bleaches are commonly available over the counter, most of these are effective for surface stains only, not for deep cleaning purposes.
Teeth Whitening with Bleach
Teeth bleaching agents are made of peroxide that can sometimes alter the colour of the teeth or not be responsive enough. Bleaching is of two types:
- Vital bleaching: Whitening natural teeth that are stained by food or tobacco or discoloured with age.
- Non-vital bleaching: Whitening restored teeth that changed colour because of damage such as root canal.
It is best to consult a dentist to determine the underlying causes behind teeth discolouration to figure out which whitening agent is best suited for the desired result. If you’ve had a dental treatment, it is important to consult a dentist to remove dark stains and discolouration.
Please note that there is no single whitening formula for all. Suggestions can range from bleaching treatments using heat and light, custom-made mouthguards filled with bleach or cleaning teeth with toothpaste that contains bleach, but none of these guarantee permanent results. Periodic bleaching treatments are required to maintain whitened results, paying attention to safety and tooth sensitivity.
Dental whitening comes with some common myths too:
- Some believe that it is not available for sensitive teeth
- It can wear away tooth enamel
- A single treatment is sufficient for permanent results
- Whitening is not effective for dental restorations and veneers
- Over the counter products are as effective as the ones used by a dentist
The truth is that results differ from case to case. Some whitening gels or solutions are harsher than others. Weaker compositions may be better suited for those with sensitive issues. Regarding enamel damage from whitening, one of the main reasons is a DIY experiment. It is advisable to avoid over the counter solutions and visit a professional dentist instead. High bleaching concentrations in certain products can cause erosion issues. Last, but not least, certain foods and drinks can discolour teeth just as ageing can, giving a yellowish or slightly greyish appearance. Your dentist may recommend custom whitening trays as an option to get back your bright, white smile.
What is not a myth is that teeth whitening works for natural teeth only. It does not work for veneers and restorations. If you’re in for a restoration or dental implant, your dentist will suggest going through the whitening procedure before the surgery to match the colour with the replaced tooth.
Dr. Jason Harvey, Edmonton
Avoid over the counter options and make sure your dental health is in safe, trustworthy, and professional hands. Talk to Dr. Jason Harvey and his team about whitening your teeth and we’ll be happy to brighten up your day.