When Teeth Whitening Isn’t the Ideal Choice

Am I a candidate for teeth whitening?The appeal of whiter teeth is universal, but not everyone will benefit equally from this popular cosmetic treatment. Dr. Todd Pizzi, who offers teeth bleaching in Shrewsbury, MA, explains that certain conditions must be met to ensure optimal results. Having white teeth is one thing, but it is more important to have teeth that are healthy enough to avoid damage during treatment. If any of these apply to you, you may wish to consider alternative cosmetic dental treatment.

Young Patients and Pregnant Patients

We do not advise teeth bleaching for patients who are age 16 and under. Even though your permanent teeth would appear to be fully developed past childhood, the nerves within the tooth are actually enlarged until you reach this age. This means the teeth are more likely to develop sensitivity, or the pulp within the tooth may become irritated. We also discourage women who are expecting or lactating from undergoing teeth whitening treatment.

Patients With Sensitive Teeth and Certain Allergies

Although professional teeth whitening does not commonly cause sensitivity, patients whose teeth are already sensitive my experience discomfort following treatment. If you are concerned that your teeth may become sensitive, ask your dentist to recommend an alternative means of improving your smile, such as porcelain veneers or cosmetic bonding. If you have a known allergy to peroxide, you are not a candidate for teeth whitening.

Tooth Decay and Gum Disease

Healthy teeth respond best to whitening treatment, whereas teeth that have been damaged by cavities are not suitable. This is also true for patients whose teeth have exposed roots, which commonly occurs as the result of receding gums caused by periodontal disease. Before whitening your teeth, it is in your best interest to address any problems with your teeth and gums; otherwise, there is a greater risk of sensitivity.

Dental Restorations

Materials commonly used in dental restorations, such as crowns, veneers, and bridges, do not respond to bleaching. For example, if you attempt to whiten your teeth and one of these teeth has a composite resin filling, only the natural tooth structure will be whitened; the color of the filling itself will remain unchanged. This also applies to veneers, dentures, and teeth treated with cosmetic bonding.

Realistic Expectations Are the Key

Some causes of discoloration cannot be eliminated altogether with a single treatment. In fact, some do not respond to teeth whitening at all. It’s also important to be aware that some maintenance is required on your part to ensure the longevity of your whitening. If you smoke cigarettes, for example, your teeth will not remain white for very long. Your teeth will still be capable of becoming discolored if you drink coffee, eat an acidic diet, and neglect your hygiene.

About Your Shrewsbury Dentist

To learn more about our services, or to schedule an appointment with one of our doctors, contact our Shrewsbury, MA dentist office at (508) 842-8838. We welcome residents of Shrewsbury, Boylston, North and South Grafton, Milford, and the surrounding communities.