With time and age, teeth become darker and yellower. The color of ones teeth depends on their genetics, life habits (smoking, consumption of foods or beverages that stain teeth, poor oral hygiene), and dental history (decay, trauma, types of fillings received throughout life).
As a general rule, extrinsic discoloration (superficial) of teeth disappears after a complete cleaning and polishing that is performed at regular recall appointments for all patients. These stains are a result of plaque accumulation, tartar, tobacco and certain beverages (red wine, coffee, tea).
Intrinsic discoloration is much deeper, found within the tooth structure, in the enamel and dentin. These stains are due to age, genetics, medications taken during tooth development, and dental treatments (root canals, amalgam fillings, tobacco combined with dental wear, and dental traumas). Treatment for these types of situations is more complex and can vary on a case-by-case basis. Teeth whitening can be a solution in certain cases to improve the esthetic appearance of one’s smile.
The products that are used in our dental office cannot be bought at pharmacies. They require the supervision by a professional for their use. The effect of our whitening products is much more pronounced, durable, and efficient in comparison to what can be bought in stores. Their active ingredient is a modified carbamide or hydrogen peroxide. The mechanism consists of using the oxygen in peroxides to attain the deeper levels of dental tissue in order to whiten them. The product can be applied at the dental office with a special plasma or laser light that accelerates this chemical reaction. Another option available is the in-home treatment where bleaching trays are worn for a 2-week period.
Each case must be evaluated individually in order to determine which treatment would be the optimal choice. Whitening treatment allows the lightening of dental tissue and has no effect on the color of fillings, crowns or veneers. Subsequently, it is often necessary to redo restorations due to the color difference from the natural tooth structure.
There are contraindications to the tooth whitening procedure. They include, but are not limited to:
- – Patients with hypersensitivity or allergy to peroxide
- – Pregnant or breastfeeding women
- – Patients less than 16 years of age
- – Presence of decay or gum problems
- – Severe gingival recession combined with increased tooth sensitivity to hot and cold
Due to all the above reasons, we recommend consulting with your dentist before beginning a whitening treatment. We can assist you in order for you to have a beautiful smile…without the complications!
Episode on Radio Canada about teeth whitening, a great summary and pertinent commentaries from experts in the field. http://ici.radio-canada.ca/emissions/la_facture/2011-2012/Reportage.asp?idDoc=178294