Why should I whiten my teeth??
Maybe you have always wanted a beautiful white smile. Your teeth may have yellowed over time. Perhaps, you are not happy with the staining that may result from drinking coffee, tea or cola. Whatever your reason for wanting whiter teeth, you are not alone.
Just as we all have different hair and skin colour, people also have different coloured teeth. Some teeth are more yellow than others, while others may yellow with aging.
Surface stains and internal discolouration can be caused by:
- The natural aging process
- Using tobacco, drinking coffee, tea or red wine
- Accumulation of plaque and tartar deposits
- Treatment with the antibiotic tetracycline during childhood
- Trauma to the teeth that may cause a brown, grey or black colour.
There are many reasons for whitening your teeth, including:
- The boost to your confidence and self-esteem that comes from a great smile
- A younger appearance
- A special event such as a wedding, job interview or class reunion
- To make a positive first impression on others
- To simply reverse years of everyday staining and yellowing. Before beginning any whitening procedure, be sure to consult with your dentist. Only he or she can evaluate whether you are a suitable candidate for a particular treatment.
Am I a Candidate for Tooth Whitening?
Almost anyone with natural permanent teeth can qualify for tooth whitening. Your dentist will be able to assess your oral health and recommend the whitening method that is best for you. Depending on the type and severity of the staining or discolouration, he or she may suggest one or more of the following treatments:
- A professional cleaning to remove external staining caused by food and tobacco
- Use of a whitening toothpaste to help remove surface stains between dental visits
- Bleaching, in-office or at-home, for more stubborn discolouration
- Porcelain veneers or tooth-coloured restorations to fix irregular or damaged teeth or to achieve specific results.
Ask your dentist which method will achieve the best results for you.
- Teeth that are yellow respond best to bleaching. Brown or grey teeth, or teeth striped or mottled from tetracycline or too much fluoride, may not whiten evenly when bleached.
- People with periodontal disease or particularly sensitive teeth may want to avoid chemical whitening techniques that can irritate tender gums and teeth.
- Bleaching works on natural teeth and is not recommended if you have tooth-coloured fillings, crowns, veneers or bonded restorations in your front teeth.
- In some cases if appropriate, a crown or veneer may result in a whiter and more appealing smile.
How White Can My Teeth Get??
A change of just two or three shades can make a noticeable difference in almost anyone’s smile. The goal should be to achieve your individual optimum whiteness while still looking natural.
How much your teeth can be whitened depends on many factors.
Some of these you can control, such as whether to use a bleaching or non-bleaching method, or the percent of active ingredient in a whitener; and some that you cannot such as your natural tooth colour or how well your teeth respond to whitening. • A light-activated whitening session, also called chairside bleaching, results in instantly and often dramatically whiter teeth.
- A custom mouthpiece is created by your dentist for in-home bleaching. You typically wear it several hours a day or overnight for two weeks.
- Whitening products available in your pharmacy may contain much lower concentrations of active ingredients than products from the dentist. Lower concentrations may produce less dramatic results. Whitening toothpastes also help to remove stains and maintain newly whitened teeth.
- Consult your dentist or hygienist for the most suitable method for you.
Non-smokers who do not drink coffee or tea often see little or no change of tooth colour after a bleaching procedure for up to five years. Your own long-term results will depend on your habits and the specific foods you eat. If, like many people, you find it hard to completely eliminate coffee, tea, cola, red wine and other stain-causing items from your diet, you may require a touch-up treatment at regular intervals.
Are There Other Alternatives for Improving My Smile?
Tooth whitening can help brighten your smile but it is not suitable for everyone. Bleaching is not recommended if you have tooth-coloured fillings, crowns, caps or bonding in your front teeth as the bleach will not change the colour of these materials, making them stand out in your newly whitened smile. In these cases, you may want to investigate other options, like veneers or bonded restorations.
- Veneers are thin pieces of porcelain or plastic bonded to the front of your teeth. For teeth that are severely discoloured, chipped or misshapen, they can create a pleasing smile.
- Porcelain (indirect) veneers require preparation of your tooth and then construction in a dental laboratory. It usually takes two visits to the dentist. They can last 10-15 years, or more.
- Composite (direct) veneers are bonded to your tooth in a single visit. Composite veneers cost significantly less, but may only last 5-7 years.
Bonded restorations use composite resin to restore chipped or broken teeth, fill in gaps and reshape or recolour your smile. After applying a very mildetching solution that slightly roughens the surface of your teeth, permitting the bonding material to adhere, your dentist applies the resin and sculpts, colours and shapes it to provide a pleasing result. A high-intensity light hardens the material, which is then finely polished.
- Many people choose bonding over silver fillings because it looks more natural; the material can be matched to your natural tooth colour.
- The disadvantages of bonding versus silver fillings are that they cost more, are more difficult to place and less resistant to fracture and wear.
- Your dental professional can tell you if you are agood candidate for veneers or bonded restorations.
Book your next appointment with ARCA Dental today
(08) 9305 4254