Over the counter teeth whitening treatments can be a great way to achieve a smile that is several shades lighter than when you started. These are sold in varying degrees of potency, but such an approach is not appropriate for everyone. Here are some examples of when you shouldn't use an over the counter treatment. Fortunately, there are a few other options available.
The dental pulp in a tooth (the nerve) continues to grow into the teenage years, and as such, an over the counter whitening treatment should not be used until a child is at least 14 years old. Whitening of the tooth while the pulp is still in the developmental phase can cause extreme irritation. If your teenage son or daughter wants to whiten their teeth, you should ask your dentist about when it's safe to start. Your dentist might suggest a low-potency method for teeth whitening which can take longer but will be more gentle. A whitening toothpaste that contains a small amount of peroxide might be such an option, combined with dental scaling (when the dentist scrapes the teeth) to remove surface stains.
Some people's gums are more sensitive than others. Bleeding gums after brushing or flossing are a key indicator, particularly when your teeth have been scaled and gingivitis is not a likely culprit. Sensitive gums can be inflamed by over the counter teeth whitening kits, and it can actually be rather painful. Once again, consult your dentist. They might suggest gradual whitening using a toothpaste that contains bicarbonate of soda. A targeted whitening process using a low-intensity light treatment might also be an option.
Those with decaying teeth and exposed nerves should not undergo whitening treatment until the teeth have been repaired. A broken tooth that has an exposed nerve can become extremely painful when the nerve comes into contact with the whitening solution.
Crowns and Veneers
If you have any kind of mouth prothesis (such as a dental crown or veneer), you should only seek to obtain teeth whitening from your dentist. Your natural teeth will whiten, but your prosthetic teeth will not. This can result in uneven colouring when using an over the counter treatment. Your dentist will be able to offer a targeted whitening, where your natural teeth are treated in a different way to your crowns or veneers which will result in a uniformity of colour.
Those who have a medical condition that has required treatment with a tetracycline antibiotic might now have stained teeth. While not a certainty in all people treated with tetracyclines, ongoing treatment can sometimes result in teeth that are stained with a grey colour. Over the counter tooth whitening is not strong enough to remove these stains, but a dentist administered light-based whitening treatment can be. For individual teeth that might be severely stained, your dentist might suggest a veneer to cover the tooth, restoring it to its former glory.
So while over the counter teeth whitening systems are not suitable for everyone, it's nice to know that there are many other options on offer. Talk with professional dentists, like those at Hopkins Street Dental, for more information and options.
As a mum, I know how essential sport can be to children's development. Through team sports like soccer, kids learn persistence, sportsmanship and the value of supporting their team members. However, all that learning carries some risk as well, and a stray elbow or a ball to the face can result in oral injuries. I have been the mum rushing to the emergency room with a precious permanent tooth sitting in a cup of milk. Admittedly, at the time, I wasn't even sure if the cup of milk was the right solution. As a parent, you will face those situations, and I'm here to make sure you know what to do when they pop up. With this blog, let's explore children's dentistry and sports injuries together... I want you to have the info you need to stay cool, calm and collected, regardless of how many teeth are on the pitch.