Before You Whiten

Mar 13th 2023

You might be considering teeth whitening. But for many, the process may not have the results one wants, and they may have problems with the whitening process.

With all the colas and coffees and smoking which can stain the teeth, there’s been a big push by the American public to use whiteners to rejuvenate our smiles

Sandy Zahtila, who is seeking a brighter smile, says, “I’ve been using whitening toothpaste and white strips. I’ve been using them because some discoloration in my teeth drinking coffee to much tea. I do like the results I noticed that my teeth did get whiter by using the products.”

But before you do like sandy did, and go out to the store to buy an over the counter product, most importantly, you want to make sure you don’t have any underlying dental disease.

While examining Sandy, her dentist, Dr. Adina Carrel, says to her, “You also have a small cavity starting here as you are doing the bleaching that may cause some sensitivity I that area in that tooth.”

“We see a lot of patients who have cavities in their teeth and they think that with the bleaching products they can actually whiten them and that’s not going to be the case. Cavities can appear dark on teeth and there by those cavities need to be addressed and be removed and there sometimes that alone can whiten teeth,” comments Dr. Carrel.

There can also be bone or gum disease or gum recession.

“That’s very common because a lot of patients brush their teeth to hard thinking that they are going to get the stain off their teeth or they are going to get their teeth whiter and what they are doing is a lot of times damaging the enamel. When you actually apply these products onto the teeth they become a lot more sensitive,” says Dr. Carrel.

Additionally, many with bonds on their teeth think that bleaching can actually whiten them.

Dr. Carrel adds, “The bonding does not change color at all so at some point you are going to have to get them redone other wise your teeth are going to get whiter but the bonding is going to remain color and will appear much darker”

The same problem holds for crowns.

It’s important to remember that tooth whitening is not a substitute for good dental hygiene. Of course, you should be brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing, and seeing the hygienist on a regular basis.

So perhaps a trip to the dentist is warranted before you go out to brighten your smile on your own.