These days, we are more conscious of the effects of aging and diet on the whiteness of our teeth. If you are unhappy about the discoloration of your teeth, you might be considering teeth whitening. For many people, teeth whitening works great, but it doesn’t work for everyone. How do you know if it will work for you? Here’s a quick guide of what to look for.
Food Staining Is Easy to Eliminate
If your teeth are stained because of dark-colored foods, you will likely see great results from teeth whitening. This means that if you have a daily habit of coffee, tea, red wine, dark beer, or chocolate, you’re likely going to be happy with the results of teeth whitening.
In just a few weeks, teeth whitening will reverse years of staining. If you want quicker results, a one-hour office procedure can also dramatically whiten your teeth.
Tobacco Stains Can Be Eliminated
Tobacco stains are a little more difficult to eliminate than food stains, partly because they’re more concentrated, but they will also respond well to teeth whitening. Some residue from tobacco stains are likely to linger–especially after an in-office procedure–but they’ll be significantly reduced, maybe to the point that they will be unnoticeable.
Fluorosis and Antibiotic Staining
Some types of discoloration in the tooth enamel may also respond to teeth whitening. If you have mild fluorosis, characterized by small white spots on your teeth, then teeth whitening may be able to reduce their appearance. Initially, they may still seem whiter than the rest of the tooth, but they have a tendency to blend in.
Staining caused by tetracycline antibiotics can also be a challenge for teeth whitening. But with deep bleaching, these stains can even be lightened, and many people find that they’re happy with the results.
Try Professional Whitening if At-Home Treatments Don’t Work
If you’ve been trying at-home whitening treatments, but they’re not working, don’t give up. The teeth whiteners sold over-the-counter don’t contain the same strength of whiteners as the ones we use in our office, and they can’t be customized to your tooth stains.
We can also help if you like the results from at-home whiteners, but don’t like the sensitivity that comes with them. We can formulate your whitening compound to reduce sensitivity.
When Teeth Whitening Might Not Work
Although teeth whitening works great for most people, it can’t help if discoloration is related to developmental problems or damage to the tooth. If your teeth have enamel that didn’t form properly, whitening won’t help. And some people’s enamel is just not as white as others’. Whitening also won’t help if your tooth became discolored as a result of trauma.
And it won’t help if your teeth are discolored because the enamel has been thinned. If your daily habit is a coke rather than coffee, the acid from the soda may have eroded your tooth enamel, and the thin enamel allows the yellowish dentin to show through.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t get a whiter smile. Porcelain veneers can still be used to whiten your smile. If your tooth is injured or at risk, porcelain crowns not only beautify your teeth–they protect them as well.