June 30, 2014
Have you wondered who makes a good teeth whitening candidate? Or if teeth whitening will work for you?
Those are good questions because teeth whitening does not work on all types of tooth discoloration. Before rushing headlong into a treatment, you should understand if it will actually work on your type of stains.
Teeth whitening can dramatically improve smiles by removing discoloration. In fact, professional teeth whitening can brighten teeth by as much as eight shades in an hour. A typical treatment involves applying a whitening agent to the discolored teeth. Treatment may also include exposing the whitening agent to a powerful laser light to activate the bleaching solution.
Unfortunately, teeth whitening does not work on all stains.
Understanding what caused your tooth discoloration is the first step in figuring out if you would make a good can candidate for this popular treatment. Cosmetic dentist Wayne Myles in Reston can determine if you fit the profile of teeth whitening candidates, often by simply looking at your teeth. Once he determines the type of stains you have, he can recommend the appropriate treatment.
Stains are either on the surface of the tooth or on the inside. Surface stains, also called extrinsic stains, occur in the enamel of the tooth and are the kind that make for ideal teeth whitening candidates. Surface stains are often caused by food and drink, such as coffee or tea, and also by tobacco products.
However, if your tooth discoloration is on the inside of a tooth, then teeth whitening treatments may be of little value. Interior stains, called intrinsic stains, are more stubborn and usually require professional help to overcome. Sometimes the interior of a tooth can be bleached. Otherwise, intrinsic stains can be hidden by using porcelain veneers, dental bonding, or dental crowns.
Teeth Whitening Candidates
As noted, good teeth whitening candidates are people with stains on the surface of teeth. However, they should also be in good general dental health. You may not be a good candidate for teeth whitening due to:
- Dental Problems. If you have tooth decay, gum disease, or exposed roots, you will need to have these dental issues dealt with before undergoing tooth whitening. Cavities can expose the tooth root to the whitening agent, which could cause serious damage to the root, perhaps requiring root canal treatment.
- Sensitive Teeth. Teeth whitening can cause tooth and gum sensitivity. If your teeth are already sensitive, you should discuss this with Dr. Myles before treatment.
- Restoration work. Though teeth respond to whitening treatments, your restoration work will not. This means that when you whiten your teeth, your older restoration work will remain the same color and will not match your now-whiter teeth.
- Age. Children under the age of 16 are not considered good candidates for whitening treatments.
- Pregnancy. There is no solid evidence that teeth whitening can cause harm during a pregnancy, but teeth whitening is still not recommended for pregnant patients.
What Will Work for You?
If you are interested in improving your smile, request a personal consultation with Dr. Myles, who can examine your mouth and explain the treatments that will be the most effective for you based on the type of stains you have.
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