To Bleach or Not to Bleach: The Top 5 Things to Consider Before Whitening Your Teeth

teeth whiteningWhile a variety of teeth whitening systems are available including whitening toothpastes, over-the-counter strips and trays, and whitening systems obtained from your dentist.  Dr. Michael Hage, who provides braces for adults, reminds our patients that there are several important considerations to determine if tooth whitening is right for you.

Following are the five top things to consider.

  • Are you a good candidate for teeth whitening?:  Start with an examination from your family dentist.  Your dentist will determine if you are a good candidate for bleaching or whitening based on the type and extent of staining, as well as the condition of your teeth and gums.
  • Determine your goal: Is it a cleaner, brighter smile, or noticeably whiter teeth?  Whitening toothpastes and professional cleanings use polishing agents to eliminate surface stains such as those left by coffee and tobacco that make teeth look dark or yellow.  To whiten the teeth, bleaching is required. Over-the-counter bleaching systems will lighten teeth one to three shades, whereas professional whitening systems can whiten teeth up to eight shades.
  • Consider your restorations: Tooth-colored fillings, crowns and veneers can’t be bleached or whitened.  Bleaching restored teeth can cause these natural-looking restorations to stand out and give an uneven, artificial appearance. If you have restorations, especially in the front teeth, consult your dentist before whitening.
  • What’s your timeframe?: Over-the-counter and professional home bleaching systems provide noticeable results in a few days and achieve maximum whitening in two to four weeks.  Are you in a hurry?  Professional, in office whitening provides the fastest improvement, with dramatic results after just one 30 to 60 minute treatment.
  • Keep it real: Clean, white teeth give a healthy, youthful appearance to your smile, but be careful not to go too white.  If you expect your teeth to be new, “blinding white,” you may be disappointed with your results, and my find that your teeth have a translucent or artificial appearance.  A healthy goal that gives a natural appearance to your teeth is a shade slightly whiter than the whites of your eyes.

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