As promised in our last blog, we are going to tackle the topic of whitening head on. Should you whiten your teeth and if so, just what do you need to know? We’re sure you have heard about the “5 W’s” before and today we will address each one of them, briefly discussing the who, what, where, when, why and how of teeth whitening.
Many people ask the question as part of their regular dental appointment. They may have specific concerns like sensitive teeth, crowns or recent fillings and wonder “will whitening make my teeth more sensitive or less?” “Should I whiten at the dentist or can I buy over the counter products?” Most important of all, “How long do I have to wait after whitening before I can drink coffee again?” Okay, that last question isn’t quite as important but it is a recommendation that you give up tea, coffee and red wine for at least a couple of days after treatment. Knowing this and in no particular order, here are the “5W” considerations.
As a dentist, I’m always concerned for patients when using over the counter products that they are effective, used properly and that no pre-existing conditions may be aggravated by their use. For this reason, I always recommend patients consult with their dentist before embarking on ANY new dental regime, cosmetic or otherwise. The Canadian Dental Association in particular recommends patients with fillings, root canals and crowns consult with a dentist before whitening. There are also many reasons for stained teeth some of which may have nothing to do with the foods you eat and that could be symptomatic of other health issues. These should all factor into your decision about whether to whiten or not. Sensitive teeth for example can indeed be aggravated, if only temporarily, by whitening products. When tooth whitening is done in a controlled environment and by a qualified health care practitioner any health concerns can be properly monitored and addressed.
Products vary from bleaching kits, tape, dental molds and even mouthwashes. The plethora of choice is overwhelming. Bleaching and surface whiteners are the two types of products available over the counter. As the name suggests, surface whiteners deal with temporary stains while bleaches (peroxide based) are “capable of altering the colours of the tooth itself (but) not all tooth discolorations respond to tooth-bleaching treatments.” (1) Laser based treatments are also still under investigation in terms of understanding any long – term benefits they might offer.
Brinkley Dental offers, after consultation, teeth whitening services for both existing and new patients. Because we feel this is as serious as any other tooth procedure, we DON’T offer gimmicks or sales pitches but we do offer safe, effective treatments that are right for you.
Other than esthetics and personal choice, what are the other reasons someone might want whitening done? Usually, it’s not really about the teeth. There is not necessarily any medical reason or necessity for the procedure. Most patients simply want a “whiter, brighter smile” like the commercials promise. When considering whether to have this done just be sure to realize that the effects may not be long term and that you should always consult with a professional.
This too is a matter of personal choice. Many want it done for a special occasion and so really the only consideration as far as when to get your teeth whitened is to ensure that you have considered the possibilities of temporary sensitive teeth, inability to enjoy certain foods or drinks for a period of time after the service and whether or not you have recently had major dental work done or scheduled to begin soon after the whitening.
Stop by for a visit and we’ll walk you through the Brinkley Dental whitening process. It’s not long and it certainly isn’t complicated when done by your dentist. Book an appointment at Brinkley and let the team here talk with you about whether whitening is a good option for your teeth.