Friday, September 9, 2011

Should you be whitening your teeth?

Teeth whitening is not for everyone. Before choosing to whiten your teeth it is important to see your dentist to determine if your teeth are suitable for the treatment. Teeth whitening is not recommended for everyone because of various issues relating to gum and tooth sensitivity, the natural colour of a person’s teeth and presence of fillings, crowns and veneers. Unlike many untrained operators offering teeth whitening treatments, only dentists can assess a person’s suitability for the treatment. Without a proper assessment it is not possible to rule out any permanent side effects or other risks associated with the process. If administered by untrained individuals, whitening procedures can cause discoloured teeth, heightened tooth sensitivity and gum problems. When assessing your teeth for whitening, your dentist will:

whitening commence
Ensure your mouth is healthy before
Diagnose the cause of any
whiten your teeth
Discuss with you the best method to
influence the whitening process (e.g.
antibiotic staining)
Advise if there are factors which may
and veneers need replacement (as
these won’t change colour)
Assess whether your fillings, crowns
Identify areas of gum recession
how it may be managed.
Teeth whitening should only be carried
out on people who have their adult teeth,
unless otherwise advised by a dentist.
Discuss possible tooth sensitivity and
Some considerations
There are a couple of easy and cost
effective ways to keep your teeth looking
whiter and brighter, naturally.
Chairman of the ADA’s Oral Health
Committee, Dr Peter Alldritt says the best
way to keep a healthy white smile is to
maintain good oral health.
“Practising good oral hygiene is a basic
way to assist in making your teeth look
whiter naturally.”
“Brushing and flossing your teeth daily
assists in removing surface stains on
your teeth,” Dr Alldritt says.
For healthier and better looking teeth,
you should:
minutes using a fluoride toothpaste
Brush your teeth twice a day for two
Floss your teeth daily
Drink water throughout the day
Consume a sensible diet
professional clean
Visit your dentist regularly for a
What to avoid:
found on the surface of the tooth,
which are caused by dental plaque,
tars (in tobacco), tannins, coloured
foods and frequent use of certain
Extrinsic stains are superficial stains
stain teeth include herbal and black
tea, coffee, red wine and spicy foods
like curries. Smoking cigarettes also
causes unsightly stains on teeth, which
can be extremely difficult to remove.
Common foods and beverages that
surface can be removed by a dentist
performing a professional scale and
Extrinsic stains on the tooth’s


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