Many say that a beaming white smile is the best accessory one can don. However, how can you be confident with your smile when you’ve got stained teeth? Over time, your teeth lose their lustre. Nicotine from cigarettes can cause your teeth to yellow. Ditto with food and drinks, especially tea and wine. Even certain medicines like tetracycline, an antibiotic, can cause teeth discolouration. If you want to brighten your smile, then teeth whitening may be for you.
Here are a few teeth whitening FAQs (and answers).
Are teeth whitening procedures effective?
Yes. However, it varies how much change there will be or how “white” the final result is. There are several factors involved which determine the degree of improvement. These factors include the cause of the stains and how long the teeth have been stained as well as the dental history of the person undergoing the process. Even knowing these factors it is difficult to say how much improvement an individual will have.
How long does the effect of teeth whitening last?
The answer varies. As mentioned earlier, certain food and drinks can cause discolouration. If you consume these regularly and in large quantities, or continue smoking then the effect would be much shorter as compared to those who abstain. As a general rule, your teeth will continue to discolour at the same rate they were discolouring before treatment. This usually means many years before you may want to bleach again.
Are there side effects to bleaching the teeth?
The most common side effect reported by people who have undergone the treatment is tooth sensitivity. The sensitivity usually lasts between 24 to 36 hours. However, there are cases where people reported experiencing pain or sensitivity up to a month after treatment. Sensitivity is caused by the reaction of the chemicals used in the treatment with the teeth’s enamel. Your dentist can recommend toothpaste especially designed to help with tooth sensitivity.
Does teeth whitening cause damage to the teeth?
Studies indicate that teeth whitening does not cause any damage to the teeth’s enamel. Neither does it cause damage to teeth restoration materials like fillings, veneers, bridges and crowns. However, bleaching the teeth has no effect on restorations, resulting in an uneven shade between restorations and the teeth. To remedy this, you might consider having a separate procedure to have your other dental works (fillings, bridges, etc.) match your teeth’s new colour.
Is it safe to undergo the procedure if you are pregnant or nursing a baby?
While there are no studies that indicate that the procedure or the chemicals used in whitening the teeth can cause harm to an unborn baby, dentists advise their patients to wait until the baby has been born. Because of the delicate condition of babies in the womb, particularly those in the first term, dentists caution patients against undergoing the procedure.
In a similar vein, when a mother is still nursing a baby, she is advised not to undergo the procedure until the baby is weaned.