Is It Good to Do Teeth Whitening?

Is It Good to Do Teeth Whitening?

As we age, our teeth tend to lose that bright white color that we had as children. It may be because we drink so much coffee, treat ourselves to red wine too often, or smoke cigarettes regularly. You may also have what’s called intrinsic discoloration, which comes from within the tooth. This type of discoloration can be caused by medication, trauma, illness, infection, or aging. Regardless of the cause of discoloration, if your teeth are not as white as you’d like, there is something you can do about it. Thankfully, teeth whitening is widely available today. Not only do many dental offices provide teeth whitening to their clientele, but there are countless at-home options you can utilize as well.

You know you want your teeth to be whiter, but is it actually good to whiten your teeth? Are the products and processes safe? The short answer is yes! Although there can be occasional side effects from the whitening process, they are usually minor and very short-lived. This means that the benefits far outweigh the possible negatives, and teeth whitening is a great way to brighten your smile and put a little extra pep in your step.

Teeth Whitening Options

Generally speaking, there are three different types of whitening options available: those administered by your dentist in-office, those given by your dentist for at-home whitening, and those you can purchase over-the-counter for whitening at home. Each type has pros and cons, and what works best for you may not work best for everyone, so you need to take a variety of things into consideration.

First, you need to look at the type of discoloration you have. Teeth stained from coffee will be much easier to whiten than teeth stained from a childhood illness and years of medication, for example. Second, you must compare the cost of each whitening option. Some at-home options may have a great price point, but they may be less effective than in-office methods. Third, you need to consider what the actual whitening treatment will entail. You need to know your limitations and comfort levels when it comes to keeping a gel, paste, or strip on your mouth for an extended period of time. Fourth and finally, you need to take into account your dental history. If you have crowns or fillings, you’ll need to know how a whitening treatment may affect these.

Once you’ve explored each factor, you’ll be more prepared to make a decision. If you opt for an in-office treatment by your dentist, you’ll likely see faster results that last longer than alternative methods of whitening. Sometimes, one visit of about an hour is enough for great results, while other times you may need a few short visits to achieve the whiteness you desire.

At-home whitening options can sometimes be provided by your dentist. They may give you custom-fit trays that you can fill with a gel or other whitening solution, and then you wear the tray for thirty minutes to an hour daily, as recommended by your dentist.

Finally, over-the-counter teeth whitening is a great choice for many. It costs less and if you only have minor discoloration and otherwise healthy teeth and gums, this option will likely be very effective. Sometimes these options will take a little longer to whiten your teeth. You should look for products approved by the American Dental Association, and you should always follow the recommendations on the products. Whitening toothpastes and whitening strips are the most commonly used OTC options, while others use charcoal-based or other natural, home-based methods for teeth whitening.

Potential Side Effects

As mentioned above, there are some potential side effects of teeth whitening treatments, but they are generally mild and don’t last very long. The biggest side effect that people experience is teeth sensitivity. If you get recurrent treatments that result in extreme sensitivity, you should talk with your dentist about your options. Some individuals also experience irritated gums after a teeth whitening treatment. When the whitening product comes into contact with gums, it can sometimes irritate them for a short time.

Other Considerations

Teeth whitening is, unfortunately, not a one-and-done situation. You’ll need to regularly whiten your teeth to maintain the brightest whiteness, but with so many options available, that shouldn’t be too difficult. Be sure to discuss any questions or concerns with your dentist before whitening with any products, even over-the-counter methods. Remember that teeth whitening treatments are for natural teeth, so if you have cavities, crowns, dental implants, bridges, dentures, or anything else, you need to talk with your dentist about other whitening options for your specific situation.