Who Is a Good Candidate for Teeth Whitening?
Teeth whitening is the most sought after procedure among dental patients age 40 to 60, according to an American Dental Association survey. As popular as it is, not everyone is a good candidate for teeth whitening.
In general, a good candidate is an adult with healthy gums and teeth. The teeth should be free of any major cracks, fractures, or decay.
An important first step for teeth whitening is contacting a cosmetic dentist. The Academy of General Dentistry recommends dentist supervision for teeth whitening, even if over-the-counter products are used. A dentist can ensure your teeth are healthy enough for a whitening procedure. If they are not, you could cause severe pain or damage your teeth.
We regularly check patient’s teeth in our Albuquerque office to ensure they are good teeth whitening candidates.
When to Avoid Teeth Whitening
There are specific reasons to avoid teeth whitening, including:
- Age. Bleaching is not recommended for children under the age of 16, when the pulp chamber is large. Whitening could irritate the pulp or cause it to be sensitive.
- Pregnant or nursing women. There are no studies proving either the risks or the safety of teeth whitening for pregnant women. Without definitive proof either way, it is better to err on the side of safety.
- Allergies. If you are allergic to the whitening agent, peroxide, you should not undergo teeth whitening.
- Cavities, cracks, or loose dental work. If the whitening chemical leaks into a tooth via a crack, cavity, or loose filling, it can led to painful, internal damage, perhaps even a root canal infection. The good news: You can get your teeth whitened if you have them fixed.
- Multiple fillings, crowns, and other restorations. The materials used in restorations will not change color during teeth whitening, causing a mismatch in color between the restoration work and your newly whitened teeth. This is particularly important if the restoration work is on a front tooth, where the color difference would be obvious. People with numerous restorations may want to consult their dentist to determine if other options would be more suitable. Porcelain veneers may be a better option for them.
- Darkly Stained Teeth. The degree of whitening is dependent on several factors, such as the type and depth of the stain. Whitening is most effective on stains caused by soda, coffee, tea, and tobacco or the natural effects of aging. Yellowish teeth respond well to whitening, brownish teeth less so. The blue-gray staining caused by tetracycline is difficult to remove and may require special steps by a dentist.
- Sensitive teeth and gums. If your teeth and gums are already sensitive, you should consult your dentist before any teeth whitening.
- Gum disease, worn enamel, and exposed roots. People with these conditions are advised to seek advice from their dentist. Often people with these issues will be advised not to bleach their teeth.
- Unreasonable expectations. A dentist can help you understand what you can reasonably expect with teeth whitening.
Answers to Your Questions
Before you attempt any teeth whitening, discuss your plans with your dentist. If you are not a suitable candidate for teeth whitening there may be other cosmetic dentistry options for you.
Please contact us to find out what options are best for you.