What is the first thing one notices in someone’s smile? According to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry’s 2012 Whitening Survey, the second most common answer was the whiteness and colour of that person’s teeth. What makes a smile unattractive? The most common answer was discoloured, yellow, or stained teeth? Is it any wonder, then, that teeth whitening has become such a popular cosmetic dentistry option? Teeth whitening offers solutions for discoloured teeth.
Like all cosmetic dentistry options, though, managing expectations is important. Whitening is not a solution for every discoloured tooth and every patient. If you’re considering teeth whitening in Winnipeg, here’s the information you need to determine if it’s a good solution for you.
How did your teeth get yellow in the first place?
Teeth are discoloured by food and drink — like coffee, red wine, and tea — and by smoking due to the nicotine and tar. Age alone contributes to the changing colour of your teeth. As your natural tooth enamel is worn away, the yellow dentin underneath that enamel is gradually revealed. If you suffer a traumatic injury to your teeth, your body reacts by producing more dentin which can change the colour of your teeth. Medications such as antihistamines, antipsychotics, high blood pressure medications, and antibiotics taken as young children can also change the colour of teeth.
How does teeth whitening work?
Whitening treatments are made up of the bleaching compounds hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. The same compounds are present in over-the-counter home-whitening kits, but at much lower levels than those used by your dentist in Winnipeg when they supervise whitening or perform chair-side whitening.
The compounds penetrate the hard, outer layer of enamel on the surface of your teeth and react to the pigments in the next layer, called the dentine. As stains and discolourations break up and are dissolved, your teeth appear whiter.
It’s important not to have unrealistic expectations
Teeth aren’t usually white but fall along a spectrum between grayishness and yellowishness. If you’re expecting white teeth, you may feel that whitening didn’t work for you. Having said that, properly and carefully applied whitening products can whiten your teeth and smile by several shades.
If your teeth are discoloured by the side effects of medications, teeth bleaching will have no effect. If your teeth are discoloured as the result of trauma that triggered increased dentin production, whitening will make no difference. Similarly, bleaching will not change the colour of fillings, crowns, caps, or veneers.
Whitening compounds are most effective in improving the colour of yellowed teeth. Compounds are less successful in altering browned teeth and have little to no effect on gray-tinged teeth.
What’s the best way to get your teeth whitened?
Whitening supervised by a dentist — whether in take-home trays or through chairside bleaching in a Winnipeg dental office — is much more effective than any over-the-counter product. Using take-home teeth whitening near you will involve customized trays precisely fitted for your teeth rather than generic devices. Working in their own office, dentists will use stronger compounds with specialized equipment that will deliver more dramatic results faster and without the need for multiple applications.
Is teeth whitening safe?
If you’re using an at-home whitening kit, the lower levels of bleaching agents make them generally safe. However, it is essential that you follow all the instructions carefully to avoid damage to your gums.
Dentist-supervised whitening is safer because your dentist is professionally trained to use even stronger compounds. Some people have reported that their teeth are sensitive to hot and cold temperatures for a couple of days after whitening at a dentist, though. You may also experience irritated gums and a mild electric-tingling sensation on your teeth.
Are you interested in cosmetic dental treatments like teeth whitening in Winnipeg? If so, contact a dentist near you to learn what options are best for pursuing your goals.