4 Important Things You Should Know Before Choosing a Tooth Whitening Method

Posted on: 24 January 2018

If you want a whiter, brighter smile, you can achieve this in many ways, but not all of them are ideal for everyone. Ideally, you should speak to your regular dentist and get his/her opinion, even if you're not going for in-office whitening sessions. He/she can guide you to the right at-home products, as well as monitor your progress to ensure nothing goes awry. In this article, we highlight some facts you should consider before choosing to whiten your teeth, regardless of the method to be used.

1. Stains are not created equal

It should go without saying, but the longer your teeth have been stained, the harder the stain is to come off. Light yellowing is easiest to remove, and it gets harder as the colour tends towards brown. However, some stains are considered permanent, especially bluish-grey stains caused by tetracycline or greying/blackening after dental trauma. Tooth whitening products are mostly intended for yellow-brown staining. For the latter, you may have to consider options like bonding, crowns or veneers to get the colour you want.

2. Whitening is not one-off procedure

Unless you have been visiting a dentist for regular cleaning and whitening, you should expect to wait sometime before your pearly whites get back their original colour. When using at-home treatments, resist the urge to keep the whitening agent on your teeth for longer, as this will leave your teeth more sensitive. Most commonly, at home gels should be used for 1-2 hours and then rinsed off, daily over a period of 1-2 weeks depending on initial staining. In addition, visit your dentist a few days after completion so he/she can assess the result and check your gums.

3. Whitening can be reversed

Like other lifestyle changes, keeping your teeth white means being conscious of what you eat and what you do afterwards. For instance, taking coffee, tea, soda and other staining agents without rinsing or brushing afterwards will have you back to yellowing within as little as one month. Use a straw for beverages or rinse with plenty of water and follow good hygiene practices to keep your smile whiter for longer. Doing this, you can stay as long as one year between single in-office whitening procedures.

4. Dental restorations do not whiten

Dental restorations like veneers, fillings, and crowns are non-porous, and hence resistant to both staining and whitening. Your teeth have pores through which staining agents are absorbed to cause colour change over time.

Usually, when you have dental work done, the restoration is chosen to match the current colour of your teeth, so that it doesn't stick out. If you have stained teeth and whiten them, it means the restoration will stick out, and hence you may need to get another in the new tooth colour.

Apart from emergency treatments, therefore, talk to your dentist about removing stains before getting any work done so that the final restoration matches the colour of your whitened teeth. This will also save you money. For more information, visit a website such as http://www.dentalsmile.com.au.