Teeth whitening advertisements are great at capturing models with perfect smiles and dazzlingly white teeth, but is teeth whitening right for you and your teeth? Will it even work? Before you use any one of the different teeth whitening treatments on the market or at your local dentist’s office, take a look at how teeth whitening works, along with if it’s right for you.
What is Teeth Whitening?
If you are new to the idea of tooth whitening, it’s basically a treatment that lightens teeth by removing stains and discoloration, all with the intent of restoring teeth to their natural white coloring. A whiter smile can be achieved using two major tooth whitening methods: peroxide-containing bleaching agents or dentist-dispensed and OTC home-use products.
The Root Cause of Tooth Discoloration
When considering teeth whitening treatments, it’s necessary to think about what might be causing your tooth discoloration, as this will determine if tooth whitening treatments will work for you. Teeth stains can be caused by what you drink or consume (coffee, wine, tea, tobacco products) all the way to trauma, illness, and medications.
Will Teeth Whitening Work on Your Stains?
Everyone deserves a brighter, whiter smile; unfortunately, teeth whitening treatments are not for everyone. The truth is, whitening treatments are most effective at the removal of surface stains that occur on the outer layer of the enamel (extrinsic stains) — i.e. stains caused by things like coffee, tea, wine, and tobacco. Unfortunately, intrinsic stains (stains to the inner structure of the tooth or the dentin) are much harder to treat. These are caused by things like trauma, excessive fluoride, various natural causes, and more. A combination of extrinsic and intrinsic factors — like age — do exist, as well. When presented with deeper tooth stains, especially intrinsic ones, it’s best to consult your dentist before trying any over-the-counter whitening products.
Is Teeth Whitening For You?
Whitening your teeth is a simple way to increase your confidence and share your joy with those around you. Finding out if tooth whitening will work for your particular stains is simple — just talk to your dentist! At your next cleaning or dental visit, he or she can help you devise the best plan to fight your particular type of tooth stains.