Let me state, first and foremost, that I am a huge fan of teeth whitening. We perform it every day at Lakeshore Family Dentistry, and it yields many positive results. I can’t say enough about how it improves your smile, self-confidence, an overall demeanor. That being said, I need to hold up the warning flag: You may not be ready for teeth whitening just yet. The issue is not that it’s a good procedure. It’s that some people’s teeth just aren’t ready for it.
Conditions That Put the Brakes on Teeth Whitening
In some cases, whitening won’t actually make your teeth whiter. Here are a few examples of dental conditions in which whitening won’t be effective:
- Active decay, which causes brown spots on the front of your teeth. Only by addressing the tooth decay and eliminating those spots will the whitening work.
- Cavities. Fillings as a result of cavities can’t be covered up.
- Intrinsic staining: Stains on the inside of your tooth, which occurs if a nerve is dead as a result of a trauma.
- Porcelain crowns or fillings: Filling material or the porcelain in your teeth. Only the natural tooth structure can be whitened.
- Gum recession: Whitening will work, but if the roots of your teeth are exposed, your teeth will be more sensitive to the procedure.
Can These Issues be Resolved and is Teeth Whitening Safe?
Absolutely. You’ll want to address these issues regardless of whether you get whitening or not. If you do get them resolved, your teeth whitening will work.
People do ask us, “Will whitening hurt my teeth?” The answer is no. You may experience a bit of sensitivity (especially if you have the gum recession mentioned earlier), but toothpaste with high fluoride strength can decrease any discomfort.
Finally, let me reiterate that whitening is a great idea. People look forward to whiter teeth and we love to improve smiles. But I’m also a firm believer in setting realistic expectations for my patients. The more you understand the procedure, the better results you can expect.
If you’re thinking about tooth whitening, the first step is to see your dentist and ensure you are a prime candidate.
Special Note: As an indication of how strongly I believe in tooth whitening, I offer a special bonus to patients who refer new clients to Lakeshore Family Dentistry: FREE Whitening for Life!