Professional teeth whitening helps remove surface stains to lighten overall tooth color and improve appearance. This dental procedure can reduce the effects of teeth-staining foods and drinks, as well as tobacco use. In general, people with surface-level yellow stains tend to see results sooner than those with deeper brown, purple or gray stains.
Whether due to tooth sensitivity, exposure concerns or lack of effectiveness, this procedure is not for everyone. Learn who may be a good candidate for professional teeth whitening.
How Does Teeth Whitening Work?
Professional teeth whitening is a non-invasive cosmetic procedure intended to brighten your smile. A bleach solution applied to the teeth for 15 to 30 minutes is the most common method used today.
While professional whitening treatments offer more impactful results than over-the-counter strips, gels and mouthwashes, multiple sessions are needed to achieve the desired outcome. Appointments will be spaced out based on tooth sensitivity and dentist recommendations. In between sessions, you’re advised to stay away from foods and lifestyle habits that may contribute to staining, including consuming coffee and red wine, as well as smoking.
Who’s a Good Candidate for Teeth Whitening?
This in-office procedure is ideal for those:
- With healthy teeth and gums. People experiencing tooth decay or periodontal disease should not undergo teeth whitening, as the procedure can increase nerve pain and enamel thinning. Also for those with receding gums, only the top portion will whiten – not the root below.
- Who have their natural teeth. Implants, bridges, crowns and fillings are not lightened during a teeth whitening procedure. For those with multiple visible dental restorations, whitening can result in an uneven appearance across your mouth.
- With yellow teeth staining. Patients with yellow or brown tooth staining tend to see more significant results from whitening than those with deeper staining.
Who’s Not a Good Candidate for Teeth Whitening?
Professional teeth whitening is not recommended for those:
- With sensitive teeth. These individuals are more at risk for pain during and after the procedure. Over-the-counter products can better accommodate sensitive teeth.
- With an allergy. Peroxide and other bleaching agents used may cause an allergic reaction, including a breakout or red, flaking, irritated skin around the mouth.
- Who have unhealthy teeth. If you’re experiencing tooth decay or gum disease, these existing conditions need to be treated before any cosmetic procedures. If you have thinning enamel, whitening can also accelerate this and expose you to more stains.
- Who are pregnant or lactating. These women are advised to avoid exposure to bleaching agents. Pregnancy can also contribute to irritated, swollen or bleeding gums, more cavities or erosion, and bleaching can exacerbate these issues.
- Under age 16. Cosmetic dental procedures are typically not recommended for children and most teens.
- With select lifestyle habits. Smoking, chewing tobacco and drinking large amounts of coffee, tea or wine can compromise the long-term benefits of teeth whitening. You’ll need to give up these habits before the procedure and reduce or eliminate them in the long run to see the results you want.
- Who expect instant results. Professional teeth whitening can achieve more noticeable results up front. Yet those with only superficial staining see a difference right away. Deeper and darker-colored staining will require more appointments.
Ready to find out if you’re a good candidate for teeth whitening? Contact our office in Shelton, CT today.