In recent years, tooth whitening has become one of the most popular cosmetic dentistry techniques. It isn’t hard to see why: whitening is relatively quick, easy, non-invasive, and gets noticeable results. But teeth whitening treatments are not always the best choice for everyone. At her Jefferson City practice, Dr. Talva Grundstrom has seen hundreds of patients interested in teeth whitening. How do you know if tooth whitening is a good choice for you?
If you are a patient with a set of adult teeth that have become stained or discolored through habits, age, or other factors, the chances are good that you are an ideal candidate for teeth whitening. But it’s not always an open and shut case. There are factors that could lead your dentist to suggest another option:
One of the most common side effects of teeth whitening treatments is heightened tooth sensitivity as the bleaching agents penetrate the enamel of your teeth. In most patients, this sensitivity goes away within a day or so. If you have naturally sensitive teeth, on the other hand, this sensitivity can be heightened even further, causing irritation and pain, and in some cases can cause longer-lasting problems. If you have sensitive teeth, talk to your dentist about alternate whitening chemicals or other forms of treatment.
Whether or not this factor could be an issue with your tooth whitening treatment depends entirely on the placement of your fillings or dental bonding. This is only because resin for dental bonding and fillings is not affected in any way by whitening agents - therefore, if these were custom mixed to match your teeth as they were pre-whitening, you could end up with visibly mottled and uneven tooth coloring after treatment.
One fact that many people don’t know about is that chronic overwhitening of your teeth can actually result in discolored teeth. Too many whitening treatments too close together can strip away vital enamel and leave teeth gray or translucent. In some cases this is irreversible and cannot be undone with further whitening. If this is your situation, your cosmetic dentist may recommend porcelain veneers to improve the appearance of your teeth and restore a whiter and more uniform look.
There are limits to the effects that can be achieved through teeth whitening treatments. Some patients may come in expecting unrealistically drastic results after one treatment - these expectations can lead down a path toward overwhitening, which can in turn lead to the discolored results described above. If you are interested in a dramatic difference, porcelain veneers from the start may be a better choice.
Only your dentist can properly assess your teeth and determine for sure if you are a good candidate for the teeth whitening process. If you are interested in a whiter and more dazzling smile, contact Dr. Talva Grundstrom Joost at Central Dental Care to schedule an appointment and find out if teeth whitening is right for you.