Teeth Whitening - Topic Overview
Talk to your dentist before whitening your teeth. It does not work for everyone. Using a bleach product for:1
- Yellowish teeth usually works well.
- Brownish teeth will work, but not as well as for yellowish teeth.
- Grayish-hued teeth may not work well at all.
Bleaching also may not work if you have had bonding or tooth-colored fillings in your front teeth. The bleach will not affect the color of these materials, and they will stand out if you whiten the rest of your teeth. Always talk with your dentist before you use tooth whitening, especially if you have many fillings, crowns, or very dark stains.
Bleaching your teeth may have side effects. Teeth can become sensitive when you are using the bleaching solution, but this sensitivity usually goes away when you finish your treatment. A mouthpiece that does not fit well may hurt your gums.
Remember that whitening is not permanent. Your teeth will slowly become discolored again. Some lifestyle choices, such as drinking coffee or using tobacco, will speed up how fast your teeth lose their new whiteness.
Children and teens
Children and teens with discolored teeth may have a negative self-image that can result in unhealthy behavior. Teeth whitening may help them with their self-image.
In children and teens, stained or discolored teeth may be the result of:
- An injury or infection.
- Fluorosis, which is using too much fluoride. This can change the color of the teeth.
- The antibiotic tetracycline. Using this antibiotic can result in stains on the teeth.
It is important to discuss teeth whitening with your dentist. If your child still has a mix of primary and permanent teeth, whitening all teeth may result in teeth being different shades of white. This is because the thickness of the tooth enamel is different in these two types of teeth. Colors may also change when the permanent teeth replace the primary teeth.