So you want to get your teeth whitened?
Getting that perfect celebrity white smile is a highly coveted goal for some people. And for good reason. Not only are white teeth a sign of good dental hygiene, they are also the focal point of your face, giving you the ability to meet any challenge head on with confidence.
What causes tooth discolouration?
While the dental experts in brighten up any smile, the success of the treatment can depend on the cause or extent of your tooth discolouration.
For example, teeth don’t discolour for the same reasons. It could be diet or health related, tooth decay or the result of a bad habit such as smoking. It is therefore important that you visit your Dentist to find out the cause before pursuing a whitening treatment.
Typically, the best results from whitening treatments occur when your teeth are slightly yellow and need some brightening up. Results with grey, black or brown teeth are less likely to be effective as the discolouration is more likely the result of some underlying issue affecting your teeth. In this case, it may require avoiding certain foods or kicking a habit once and for all.
There are many reasons why teeth can lose their pearly white shine and become discolored. Here are some of the most common culprits:
- Food and Beverages:
- Coffee and Tea: Regular consumption of coffee and tea can lead to staining due to their dark pigments.
- Red Wine: The deep color in red wine can contribute to tooth discoloration over time.
- Berries: Berries, such as blueberries and blackberries, contain vibrant pigments that may stain teeth.
- Tobacco Use:
- Smoking or using tobacco products can result in stubborn stains and yellowing of teeth.
- Poor Dental Hygiene:
- Inadequate brushing and flossing can allow plaque and tartar buildup, leading to tooth discoloration.
- As you age, the enamel (outer layer of the tooth) naturally wears down, revealing the yellowish dentin underneath.
- Certain medications, such as tetracycline antibiotics, antihistamines, and some antipsychotic drugs, can cause tooth discoloration, especially if taken during tooth development in childhood.
- Physical injury to a tooth, such as a fall or impact, can cause discoloration, indicating damage to the internal structures.
- Some people may be genetically predisposed to have teeth with a certain level of natural pigmentation, which can influence the overall color.
- Excessive Fluoride:
- Consuming too much fluoride during tooth development (fluorosis) can lead to white or brown spots on the teeth.
- Dental Materials:
- Certain dental materials, such as amalgam (silver) fillings, can cast a grayish tint on the teeth.
- Some diseases or medical treatments, like chemotherapy, may contribute to changes in tooth color.
Understanding the underlying cause of tooth discoloration is crucial for selecting the most appropriate treatment or preventive measures. Professional dental cleanings, teeth whitening procedures, and lifestyle adjustments can help address and prevent tooth discoloration. If you have concerns about the color of your teeth, consulting with a dentist can provide personalized guidance based on your specific situation.
Is it safe?
Teeth whitening treatments are non-invasive and don’t require surgery or scary needles. However, some treatments carry the risk of chemical burns if not carried out properly.
For example, teeth whitening treatments sold over the counter contain hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide. While the concentrations sold over the counter are lower and have less risk of chemical burns, they are generally less effective.
It is safest, and you will get the best results from visiting a dental professional who can perform a teeth whitening safely.
If you are pregnant or breastfeeding it is best to avoid all teeth whitening, as the chemicals used may be enter the placenta and breastmilk.
Is it expensive?
Professional teeth whitening treatments can vary in their costs depending on the extent of the treatment and the chemicals used. The cost of teeth whitening can vary depending on the chosen method and the professional providing the treatment. Over-the-counter whitening products, such as toothpaste or strips, are widely available and offer a convenient option for at-home use. In-office professional treatments conducted by dentists involve stronger whitening agents and may provide faster results. Custom take-home whitening kits, provided by dental professionals, offer a balance between professional guidance and the flexibility of at-home application. When considering teeth whitening, it’s essential to weigh the benefits and potential side effects of each method and consult with a dentist for personalized recommendations based on individual oral health.