One of the common misconceptions about professional teeth whitening is that it works on all teeth, regardless of the type or cause of the discoloration. Although teeth whitening is safe and effective for certain types of stains, it will not work in every situation.
Take a moment to learn from Dr. Gordon Bell, of The Center for Dental Excellence, what teeth whitening can and cannot treat.
What Teeth Whitening Can Treat
Discoloration from consuming certain foods or beverages
Regularly consuming coffee, tea, wine, tomato sauce, berries or balsamic vinegar can stain the surface of the teeth (i.e., enamel). These stains are known as extrinsic stains. Teeth whitening treatment uses special bleaching agents to break up extrinsic stains and give the teeth a lighter and brighter appearance.
Some discoloration caused by smoking
Yellowing of the teeth caused by the tar and nicotine in tobacco can usually be improved with teeth whitening treatment. However, if the teeth turn gray or brown from smoking, it is less likely they will be noticeably whitened with teeth whitening treatment.
What Teeth Whitening Can’t Treat
Teeth that have yellowed with age
As we age, the enamel becomes thinner due to wear and tear, revealing the underlying layer of tooth structure called dentin. Dentin is naturally yellowish and cannot be lightened with teeth whitening products.
Stains caused by taking antibiotics
If you have stains due to taking antibiotics as a child, teeth whitening will not improve the look of the stains. These types of stains are known as intrinsic stains, or stains that affect the deeper layers of the tooth (i.e., the dentin).
Stains caused by trauma to the tooth
Another common type of intrinsic stains that teeth whitening cannot treat are those caused by trauma to the tooth.
Crowns, veneers or other restorations
Teeth whitening will not change the color of crowns, veneers, bridges or other dental work. If you want to lighten your teeth and existing restorations, Dr. Bell will probably need to replace the dental work and match it to your teeth after they have been whitened.
Contact The Center for Dental Excellence
To learn more about how teeth whitening works and whether it could benefit your smile, contact The Center for Dental Excellence. Please call (888) 906-2343 or send us an email today.