Teeth whitening is one of the most popular trends for quickly brightening up a smile that has been dulled with age, smoking, and drinking tea, coffee, soft drinks, and red wine. Many people turn to the over-the-counter methods found in whitening toothpastes and even teeth whitening products, but many also turn to professional teeth whitening for more instant and longer-lasting results.
However, teeth whitening isn’t the best or even viable option for everyone. On an occasion, it won’t work at all. Talk with your dentist about whether you are a candidate for successful teeth whitening, even if you want to use over-the-counter methods.
For example, teeth whitening is 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.
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 the 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.
Also be aware that whitening won’t affect dental fillings, dental implants, crowns, or veneers. Therefore, if you try to whiten teeth surrounding these, you will end up with differently colored teeth.
Not sure if you’re a candidate for teeth whitening? Don’t take the plunge without making sure. At your next dental visit, ask your dentist, and ask which over-the-counter methods would be the best for your particular teeth.