Who Are The Ideal Candidates For Teeth Whitening?

Who Are The Ideal Candidates For Teeth Whitening? By Dr. Jon ( Junyi ) Ho | September 9, 2022

Who Are The Ideal Candidates For Teeth Whitening?

Teeth whitening is one of the desired cosmetic procedures in dentistry that involves lightening your teeth to have a brighter smile that can help boost your confidence.

However, this treatment is not suitable for everybody. If you are considering whitening your teeth, being familiar with the qualifications can help you determine whether the treatment is right for you.

What Is Teeth Whitening?

What Is Teeth Whitening?

Teeth whitening is a popular and relatively quick dental treatment that uses active ingredients, such as hydrogen peroxide, carbamide peroxide, and other agents to help reduce or remove teeth discolourations. There are two major teeth whitening methods, including:

There are two major methods of teeth whitening, such as:

In-Office or In-Chair Teeth Whitening

This is a professional teeth whitening treatment done by a dentist or a licensed dental hygienist in a dental clinic. They use a higher concentration of chemical agents and blue light or LED light to speed up the whitening process. It is also the most effective and safest method of tooth whitening because dentists take precautions to avoid harming your gums and other soft tissues in your mouth.

At-Home Teeth Whitening

This method uses a lower concentration of hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide and can be done on your own at home following the instructions of your dentist or the product’s manufacturer. It is less effective than in-office teeth whitening, but it is more convenient because you can do it at home.

This can be in the form of:

  • Custom-made whitening trays. You can only get these from your dentist, wherein they will take an impression of your teeth to create custom bleaching trays that fit snugly over them. You will then fill the tray with a peroxide-based whitening gel and wear it for 30 minutes, twice a day.
  • Whitening Toothpaste. This contains mild abrasives and polishing agents that can remove surface stains on your teeth.
  • Whitening Strips and Gels. You can easily find these over-the-counter, and they usually come in the form of strips that you place on your teeth or a gel that you apply with a small brush.
  • Whitening rinses or mouthwash. Many brands of mouth rinses contain active whitening ingredients such as hydrogen peroxide. These are also available in stores or by prescription.
  • Over-the-counter teeth whitening kits. This is similar to the take-home custom-made tray kit you can get from your dentist, which comes with mouth trays and whitening gel. The only difference is that this type is not customised to fit your teeth.

Who Are The Ideal Candidates For Teeth Whitening?

While this cosmetic procedure is common, there are certain characteristics you need to meet for this treatment. These include:

1. Good Dental Health

You must have healthy gums and teeth because the whitening agents can irritate your gums. If you have existing gum or periodontal disease, it might aggravate your condition. These bleaching agents come into contact with your gums and can cause redness, swelling and irritation.

2.  Discoloured Teeth

The most ideal candidates for teeth whitening are those with teeth stained by food, drinks, tobacco, aging or any other reason. If your teeth are yellow, brown or orange in colour, you may benefit from this treatment. This is specially true if you are self-conscious about the colour of your teeth.

3. Realistic Expectations

You must have realistic expectations when planning to undergo teeth whitening treatment. Remember that the results will depend on the severity of the staining and discolouration of your teeth.

What Can Cause Tooth Discolouration And Stains?

There are two types of teeth stains, such as:

Extrinsic Stains

Extrinsic or surface stains are those that are on the outermost layer of your teeth (tooth enamel), which can be caused by:

  • Food and drinks, berries like coffee, tea and red wine
  • Tobacco use
  • Poor dental hygiene
Intrinsic Stains

These are stains that are inside your tooth structure, which can be caused by:

  • Ageing due to the thinning of your enamel exposing the yellow dentin (inner layer)
  • Excessive fluoride use during tooth development
  • Certain antibiotics, like tetracycline, are taken during tooth development.
  • Trauma to the teeth that causes devitalised teeth
  • Dental procedures, like root canal treatment
  • Certain medical conditions, such as celiac disease, liver disease, calcium deficiency, etc.

When Is Teeth Whitening Necessary?

While teeth whitening is a matter of personal preference, there are instances when it is necessary, such as:

  • After getting the braces removed, if you just had your braces removed, you may notice that your teeth have become stained or discoloured. The brackets and wires of braces can interfere with proper oral hygiene, leading to staining and discolouring of the teeth.
  • Before a special event. Many people with an upcoming special or social event, like a wedding or job interview, opt for teeth whitening treatments to boost their confidence.

What Benefits Can You Get From Teeth Whitening?

What Benefits Can You Get From Teeth Whitening?

Below are the advantages of getting a teeth whitening procedure:

  • Boosts confidence and self-esteem. Having whiter teeth can make you feel good about yourself, boosting your confidence.
  • A bright smile is always attractive. Many believe that a beautiful smile can make a person more attractive. With brighter teeth, you can also look and appear more youthful.
  • Affordable treatment. Teeth whitening is a less expensive cosmetic dental procedure compared to dental veneers or crowns.
  • It can be done at home or in the dentist’s office. You can choose where to have your teeth whitening procedure, either do it at home using an over-the-counter whitening kit or in the dentist’s office.
  • Non-invasive procedure. Unlike other dental procedures, teeth whitening is non-invasive. It does not require drilling and removing tooth structure, which is done in veneers or crown procedures. It can also be completed in an hour.

Side Effects Of Teeth Whitening

Like any other procedure, teeth whitening also comes with side effects, such as:

  • Tooth sensitivity. Increased tooth sensitivity after the treatment is common and normal. This is because the bleaching agents can make your teeth more porous, making them sensitive to hot and cold temperatures. This is temporary and should go away on its own after a few days.
  • Gum irritation. The chemicals in the bleaching agents can also irritate your gums, leading to redness, swelling, and discomfort.
  • Stomach or throat pain. In very rare cases, the bleaching agents used in teeth whitening can be swallowed and may cause stomach or throat pain.

What Food Should One Avoid After The Procedure?

Following your teeth whitening treatment, it is essential to avoid eating or drinking foods and beverages that can cause staining, such as:

  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Red wine
  • Soda
  • Tomato sauce
  • Berries
  • Beets
  • Curry

Who Should Not Have Teeth Whitening Done?

  • Children below 16 years old. They may not have this treatment because their teeth are still in the process of fully developing and may be prone to becoming damaged.
  • Pregnant or breastfeeding women. Women carrying babies and nursing mothers are also advised not to have their teeth whitened because there’s not enough evidence to determine if it is safe for them and their babies.
  • People with sensitive teeth, gums, or throat. These conditions may not allow you to have this treatment as you may experience more discomfort during and after the procedure. Depending on your situation, your dentist may address these issues first or recommend another dental procedure.
  • People with braces. Dentists recommend waiting until your braces are removed before whitening your teeth. This is because the whitening agent will not be able to penetrate through the brackets and wires, leading to uneven results.
  • People with dental crowns, fillings, or veneers. Whitening agents will not change the colour of these materials, so if your goal is to achieve a uniform look, you may want to consider other options.

How Else Can You Improve The Appearance Of Stained Teeth?

If you are not a good candidate for a teeth whitening procedure, other treatments can help make your teeth appear whiter and brighter, such as:

  • Dental veneers. This is a thin, custom-made shell placed over the front surfaces of your teeth.
  • Dental bonding. This is a procedure where a tooth-coloured resin material is applied to your teeth and hardened using ultraviolet light.
  • Crowns. Dental crowns are caps placed over your entire teeth to cover them and improve their appearance and function.

Final Thoughts

Teeth whitening is one of the most desirable cosmetic dental treatments because of its ability to give you a whiter smile, boosting your confidence. However, it is not for everyone. If you have gum/gingival disease, tooth decay, or other dental conditions, you may need to have them managed first before proceeding with tooth whitening. Your dentist may also recommend other alternatives that can help make your teeth brighter.

If you’re considering having your teeth whitened but are unsure if you are a good candidate, Darch Dental Care can help. We have a team of experienced dentists who are skilled and knowledgeable in teeth whitening. During your initial consultation, they will assess your oral health and determine if you are a suitable candidate. They will also discuss in detail your questions or concerns about the treatment.

Call us now at 08 9515 4892 to schedule an appointment with one of our dentists!

Dr. Jon ( Junyi ) Ho

Dr. Jon is a Perth-based dentist who graduated with a Bachelor of Dental Science in 2005 from the University of Western Australia. He has worked at a range of dental practices, including being a partner and principal dentist for a group of five dental surgeries in Sydney. Dr. Jon has been practising for over a decade in the northern suburbs of Perth. He provides treatment for patients in Darch, Madeley, Landsdale, Kingsway, Kingsley, Marangaroo, Alexander Heights, Wangara, Ellenbrook, and others.

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