Some foods and drinks can stain, yellow, or discolor teeth. When this is the case, you may consider whitening your teeth. If you are thinking about whitening your teeth, it is important to be realistic in your expectations. Most people will only get a 2 to 3 shade lighter shift on the dentist’s Vita shade guide and some of your fillings and crowns will not change color unless you replace them. If you want a more drastic color change, then you may need to consider cosmetic dentistry rather than just whitening.
You should have your teeth professionally cleaned before you begin whitening. Also, any open cavities should be sealed at least temporarily. Whitening has not been studied for children or pregnant women and is not recommended.
The best results from whitening occur in people with yellow-stained natural teeth or stains from smoking or other similar factors. Brown, orange and gray stains are the most difficult to bleach. One example of gray stains is Tetracycline stains. This gray stain shows improvement with whitening, but not all of these patients achieve excellent results. Only about 40% get significant results. 50% get good results and 10% show no change.
You’ll want to do your whitening before cosmetic restorations like tooth colored fillings, veneers, or crowns. You should wait at least 2 weeks after you finish whitening to place any cosmetic restorations. At least 2 days wait after your last whitening is needed for bonded restorations such as tooth colored fillings. Your crowns and tooth colored fillings probably will not change color with whitening, so if you do them before, you may have to replace them. It’s much easier to match the cosmetic color to your teeth than to get your teeth to match your crown or filling color.
If you have temporized teeth be aware that some temporary materials will discolor during whitening. (At least one material turns bright red!)
The whitening process may cause dehydration of your teeth and result in white spots or lines on your teeth. In most cases, these spots and lines disappear within 1-2 weeks after completing the whitening process. If you already have with white spots on your teeth, you may be more likely to develop this condition.
The most common complaint with whitening is that teeth become sensitive. In most cases this will go away 1-3 days after you stop whitening. Some people can only whiten once every 2-3 days if sensitivity persists. If you develop sore gum, your tray may be too long and need to be trimmed, or you may be using too much gel in the tray.
Whitening does not last forever! Touch up whitening should be limited to 1-2 days, 1 or 2 times a year. Learn more about whitening here: Teeth Whitening
Dr. Jennifer Robb is a general dentist who offers in-office and take home whitening. Call 440-960-1940 to schedule your appointment at her office at 1612 Cooper Foster Park Rd., Lorain, OH. www.drjrobb.com