Teeth whitening is the most popular dental procedure, and there are a lot of products, information, and misinformation out there. If you’re considering brightening your smile with whiter teeth, here’s what you should know.
What Causes Teeth To Change Colour?
There are many tooth whitening treatments available, but they may or may not work, depending on the reason teeth change colour in the first place.
• What you eat and drink – Foods and beverages with certain types of colour pigmentation can stain teeth, including red wine, coffee, and tea. The pigment, called choromogens, attaches to the tooth enamel.
• Smoking – The tar and nicotine in cigarettes can cause your teeth to stain a yellowish colour.
• Aging – As you age, the enamel of your teeth can begin to wear off, and reveal the more yellow hued dentin underneath can show through.
• Accidental injuries – If you have been hit in the mouth, even if teeth aren’t actually cracked or broken, they may respond to the blow with extra layers of dentin, which is yellowish in colour.
• Medications – Certain types of medications can cause teeth to darken, including some antihistamines, anti-psychotic medications, high blood pressure medications, and chemotherapy.
Teeth Whitening – Questions & Answers
Q: Do I need to see my dentist, or can I just buy something from the pharmacy?
A; Whether or not DIY teeth whitening products work in your case depends on a number of factors, including the causes for disolouration, and the condition of your teeth. Your dentist can advise you on what is best for you.
Q: How does teeth whitening work?
A: Teeth whitening agents contain bleaching agents, typically hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. The bleaching agents break the stain material up, lessening the colour.
Q: What are my options?
A: There are a few different options available.
• Stain removal toothpastes – Look for the ADA/CDA Seal of Acceptance on the package. This can remove surface stains from your teeth, and is the mildest option.
• Store bought whitening strips – The ADA/CDA Seal of Acceptance ensures a safe and effective product. Somewhat stronger than toothpastes, it is not as strong as the solutions that your dentist can provide, and will work for mild staining only.
• Take home kits – Your dentist can give you a bleaching solution, with a tray that is custom-made for your bite. This option takes a few days, up to a few weeks, depending on the condition of your teeth. Your dentist can offer a much stronger product than you can buy over the counter, so it is suitable in situations where you need deep cleaning rather than very mild stain removal.
As with any procedure, there are some caveats to keep in mind too.
• Teeth whitening only works on natural teeth – not crowns, caps, or other porcelain work.
• Side effects may include tooth sensitivity if the peroxide reaches the nerves.
• Over-using whitening products can eventually damage the enamel, or even the gums. Ask your dentist for advice if you’re not sure.
• If you have delicate, sensitive, or otherwise problematic teeth, we urge you to see your dentist before you try any teeth whitening products.
Looking for advice on teeth whitening, or any other aspect of your oral and dental health? You’ll find the answer at Dr. Robert Axelrad’s Dental Office in Brampton, ON.
If you’re looking for a well-regarded and highly skilled dentist in the Brampton area, make an appointment with Dr. Robert Axelrad by calling (905)-791-3867. Visit our website to learn more about our dental services.