Teeth whitening treatments are among the most popular cosmetic dental procedures, as it dramatically improves the appearance of your teeth and can be done in one dental visit. Teeth whitening is effective at lightening teeth and removing stains and discolouration.
The natural colour of the outer layer of teeth – the tooth enamel – is created by the reflection and scattering of light off the enamel combined with the dentin underneath it. Your genes can affect the thickness and smoothness of the enamel. With thinner enamel, the dentin shows through, giving your teeth a yellowish appearance. Having smoother or rougher enamel also affects the way light reflects on the teeth, causing the colour to appear differently.
A thin coating (pellicle) forms on the enamel and picks up stains every day. Tooth enamel also contains pores that can hold stains on the teeth. However, the most common causes of stained or discoloured teeth are:
- Tobacco use
- Consuming dark-coloured liquids such as coffee, tea and red wine
- Neglecting your oral health and not forming a proper oral hygiene routine
- Aging (aging makes teeth less bright because the enamel gets thinner while the dentin becomes darker)
It is also possible to have intrinsic stains (stains on the inside of the tooth). Intrinsic stains can be caused by a myriad of things, such as over-exposure to fluoride, trauma or tetracycline antibiotics, to name a few. If teeth have intrinsic stains, it would be advisable to consider dental restorations, as teeth whitening procedures are most effective on surface (extrinsic) stains.
Other dental problems can affect the success of tooth whitening. For example, cavities need to be treated before teeth are whitened. That's because the whitening solution can pass through decayed areas and reach the inner parts of the tooth. If your gums have receded, the exposed roots of your teeth may appear yellow or discoloured. Whitening products will not make them whiter.
Contact our Dental Artz Clinic to book a consultation prior to your teeth whitening treatments, so that we may give you a thorough oral examination and determine the best teeth whiting option for you.