Teeth whitening is one of the easiest and most predictable ways to improve the appearance of your smile. Professional cosmetic dentistry brightens by lifting staining and discoloration to reveal natural white dental enamel. While teeth whitening is popular, patients should meet certain qualifications to receive the best benefit.
Ideal candidates for teeth whitening are those who meet the following criteria:
Yellowed or Darkened Teeth
The most common dental stains are those caused by frequent consumption of coffee, tea, red wine, and even smoking cigarettes. The resulting effect is yellow teeth or brown discoloration. These stains are most easily lifted with dental bleach, which breaks down molecules of on the surface of enamel to reveal a more pleasant shade.
Teeth that appear gray or those with fluorosis stains may not be effectively corrected with teeth whitening. Gray dental enamel is caused by thinning tooth structure involved in the natural aging process, which reveals the natural color of the darker dentin beneath. Topical dental bleach will not correct this issue. The mottled effect created by fluorosis needs to be camouflaged with dental prosthetics if the discoloration is severe.
Whitening affects natural teeth only. Teeth that have been capped or restored with veneers, bridges and even composite resin will not change color with the application of bleaching gel. The makeup of porcelain, composite, and other materials used in restorations is different than organic enamel and does not allow the bleach molecules to work as they would on natural teeth.
If you are in need of a dental restoration, most dentists with a focus on the end aesthetic result will recommend teeth whitening as a pre-treatment. This way, new prosthetics can be shade matched to white, natural teeth. If these teeth require touch-up in the future, that can be provided, but patients’ won’t have to worry about swapping restorations later.
Alternatives to Cosmetic Dental Bleaching
If teeth whitening cannot be used to meet your aesthetic dental goals, you still have options to achieve a whiter smile. During your cosmetic consultation, procedures with as tooth-colored bonding and the application of porcelain dental veneers may be recommended. These treatments cover and conceal flawed teeth, creating a fresh, white smile. If you have questions about teeth whitening, contact our Fullerton, CA cosmetic dentistry, Dr. Ryoo, for a consultation today!