Based on the number of adverts for products guaranteed to give you a gleaming white smile, it might be tempting to think this treatment is perfectly suitable and safe for everyone, but this wouldn’t necessarily be right. There are definitely some things you need to be aware of before bleaching your teeth, and a few are listed below.
Teeth whitening isn’t right for everyone
This is the most important thing to be aware of, and you should always consult your dentist before using any type of bleaching product on your teeth. The reason for this is that the bleaching chemicals can be very strong, and it’s essential that they are only used on a healthy mouth as otherwise they could cause damage to your teeth and gums.
Teeth whitening results can vary
Teeth whitening results will never be exactly the same for any two people. The degree of whitening that can be achieved largely depends on a number of factors such as the natural colour of your teeth, and your age.
You might want bright white teeth, but this could prove to be unrealistic, and overusing products won’t make them any whiter. All that will happen is that you’ll gradually bleach out all the natural colour in your teeth, and they’ll gradually become more and more dehydrated and could even look a little greyish.
Your teeth become discolored and stained for a variety of reasons
There can be a number of different reasons as to why your teeth become stained and discoloured looking. The main reasons are simply due to lifestyle choices and ageing.
If you like drinking tea and coffee, and are partial to a glass of red wine then your teeth are more likely to be stained. Teeth can also become stained if you eat or drink a lot of acidic products such as diet drinks, white wine and citrus fruits. Unless you change these habits the whitening effects of teeth bleaching won’t last for very long.
Age makes a difference, as the teeth of younger people are covered in a thick layer of enamel which blocks out the underlying colour. As we get older this enamel layer wears down, allowing more of the natural tooth colour to show through. The natural colour of your teeth can be done to genetics, so it’s worth looking at the teeth of older relatives to see how you’ll age.
If you were prescribed certain antibiotics, in particular tetracycline then your teeth may have become discolored. Having root canal treated teeth can also affect the colour, and these types of staining is are unlikely to be affected by bleaching.
Teeth whitening won’t affect the colour of any restorative work
If you have veneers, crowns, bridges or white fillings then these won’t be affected by bleaching. This means you could be in danger of ending up with an uneven smile. If you need a substantial amount of restorative work then it’s worth asking your dentist about bleaching your teeth beforehand so the new restorations can be matched to your new smile.
In general teeth whitening is a very safe treatment and side effects are rare. The most likely side-effect is that your teeth will become a little more sensitive for a while afterwards. You should never overuse the products or leave them on for any longer than recommended as this could damage your teeth and gums.
The results of teeth whitening and can last quite some time depending on the method of whitening used and your lifestyle.