Whitening Options

Author: Dr. Alison Vitelli, DMD, FAGD

Woman Smiling with Clear Braces onA very common comment we get from our patients is that they would love for their teeth to be whiter but, is everyone a good candidate for whitening?

The answer is: No. Not every patient is a good candidate for teeth bleaching right away. There are several factors we need to consider before moving forward with whitening treatment.

We always need to make sure our patients are free of cavities before we whiten. The presence of untreated decay can cause extreme sensitivity and pain. Recession of the gums can be a potential cause of sensitivity if directly exposed to bleaching material without properly desensitizing the teeth prior to the procedure. We also need to consider the presence of previous fillings, crowns or veneers, and understand that the only structure that changes shades is the natural tooth. Any material like resin, porcelain or zirconia will not change the already selected shade. Younger patients are not the best candidates for whitening since their enamel is still being reinforced by the action of the fluoride in the toothpaste and dental cleanings.

Today’s market provides an overwhelming amount of options for whitening your teeth. Most products are based on hydrogen peroxide at different percentages. For example, the professional products used at dental offices will contain a higher concentration of the hydrogen peroxide when compared to over-the-counter whitening strips, or whitening toothpaste. Each patient is very unique, and that’s why when we are being asked about whitening, we look and take into consideration all the factors that will be involved in the final outcome of the treatment. Next time that you come to our office, feel free to ask about our whitening options and we will be more than happy to let you know when would whitening be good for you!