Teeth Whitening – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Teeth Whitening – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Should I Whiten My Teeth?

Most people wish their teeth were whiter, and end up spending millions of dollars every year on teeth whiteners and teeth whitening procedures. Celebrities, in particular, are quite partial to keeping their teeth white for their careers. There are a few good reasons to keep your teeth white, such as a more beautiful smile, a boost in confidence, and most importantly, improved oral hygiene.

However, nothing is perfect, even teeth whitening. Before you look into the costly procedures, be sure to take in all the points, both good and bad.

The Good

Teeth whitening is one of the most popular trends for quickly brightening up a smile that has been dulled due to age, smoking, and drinking tea, coffee, soft drinks, and red wine. Many people turn to over-the-counter methods found in whitening toothpaste and even teeth whitening products, but many also turn to professional teeth whitening for more instant and longer-lasting results.

Patients have multiple options for their teeth whitening process, including:

  • At-home bleaching treatments
  • In-office bleaching treatments
  • Laser bleaching treatments

Obviously, the best reason to whiten your teeth is to improve your appearance. Most people look down on others who have stained teeth, so it’s often difficult to smile knowing that you could possibly be judged for the state of your teeth. People with white teeth typically have more confidence than those who do not and therefore smile more.

In addition, a whiter smile has a more subtle effect on your facial beauty by removing the focus from any wrinkles or other facial blemishes. People will notice your white teeth before they will ever see any imperfections on your face, and they may not notice them at all.

Is Teeth Whitening Safe?

Dentists use a bleaching agent that’s stronger than those found in over-the-counter teeth whitening kits to erase the surface stains from your teeth. The bleach is very strong, but it is also very safe for your mouth.

The Bad

As with any procedure, there are a few drawbacks and side effects. For instance, if you are sensitive to the bleaching chemicals used, you may have sore gums and tender teeth for a few days after the procedure. If this is the case, your dentist can help alleviate the discomfort post-whitening.

Teeth whitening isn’t the best or even a viable option for everyone. And on rare occasions, it won’t work at all. For example, teeth whitening isn’t recommended for pregnant women or children under 16. With pregnant women, the hormones are constantly changing, which does affect tooth structure as well as gum health. Wait until after the baby is born to try to fix any stains caused by craving unhealthy food and/or severe morning sickness.

With under-16 children, their adult teeth are still developing. Agents found in teeth whitening treatment can damage the developing teeth, especially the pulp chambers, which can cause sensitivity.

Some patients also find that their custom mouth-trays are uncomfortable, which is caused by the tray not aligning properly with their mouths. Notify your dentist immediately if your tray is uncomfortable so the problem can be fixed and not potentially damage your teeth.

Those with gum disease, cavities, or cracked dental crowns should also avoid any whitening treatments until they recover from these problems. The whitening agents can aggravate these issues, and the decay from the cavities can absorb the agents, making the tooth far more sensitive than it normally would be. Likewise, if you already have sensitive teeth, whitening your teeth will worsen your sensitivity.

And while 78 percent of all patients have a successful teeth whitening treatment, that means 22 percent do not, and you could fall into this category. As a result, you may need to look into more expensive cosmetic procedures such as dental crowns or porcelain veneers.

Book Your Next Appointment With Robert A. Neal, DDS Family Dentistry

Not sure if you’re a candidate for teeth whitening? Don’t take the plunge without making sure. Contact our team for a consultation: (972) 200-0656

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