Not everyone’s teeth are suitable for whitening, nor will one set of teeth whiten like another. Teeth and gums must be healthy before teeth whitening can be considered. A full dental examination with radiographs should be done by a dentist to check for tooth decay, receding gums, existing restorations (as these will not bleach), current sensitivity, need for a scale and clean (as sometimes a clean will give patients a satisfactory whitening result).

What are some things to consider with tooth whitening?

Sensitivity – teeth can become hypersensitive to cold drinks/foods, air and may develop transient “zinging”. Sensitivity caused by tooth whitening will dissipate when bleaching is stopped.

Multi coloured teeth – if there are fillings, crowns or veneers in the smile line, these will not bleach and will require changing in order to match the new shade of the natural teeth

Dissatisfaction – unfortunately due to biology and the cause of the discolouration, not everyone’s teeth will whiten at the same rate or to the same degree. Teeth may only require two weeks of bleaching, however, in some cases bleaching may be required for months. Results cannot be guaranteed. Patients need to be realistic about their expectations – “fridge white” is difficult to achieve with whitening alone – Celebrity Smiles are most often achieved with the addition of porcelain veneers or crowns.

There are no conclusive studies that show detrimental effects from tooth whitening. Guidelines are set by the Australian Dental Association in order to maintain proper practice and delivery of safe treatments. If whitening does not achieve the result you hoped for you may want to talk to your dentist about other options.

What are common types of discolouration in teeth?

  • Normal discolouration/yellowing of teeth with age due to internal change in the tooth
  • Lifestyle staining – smoking, coffee drinking, red wine, tea
  • Fluorosis
  • Tetracycline staining (most difficult to whiten)

If you have any other questions about whitening – please do not hesitate to ask Tony.

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