Tooth whitening

Tooth whitening is quickly gaining in popularity. Among the most common techniques are:
  • in-office whitening
  • at-home whitening using trays
  • over-the-counter whitening agents

Note

Toothpaste, mouthwash, chewing gum and other whitening products do not change the colour of your teeth, but simply remove surface stains.

Some people get better whitening results than others. Teeth with yellow discoloration usually respond better than brownish teeth.

If your front teeth have crowns, veneers or small composite fillings, these restorations may have to be replaced after the whitening, to make sure that all your teeth are the same colour.

The Order suggests that expectant or nursing women wait until after their pregnancy or nursing period before having their teeth whitened. Children under age 12 should not use teeth whitening products.

Enlightened advice

If you want a brighter smile, it is best to discuss it with your dentist during your next visit. He or she will begin by cleaning your teeth and carrying out a comprehensive examination to rule out the presence of cavities or defective restorations. Your dentist can also determine why your teeth have become discoloured, tell you whether you are a good candidate for this type of treatment, and recommend a product.

What you need to know

Current clinical studies indicate that most products are harmless if the instructions for application are followed to the letter and all warnings are obeyed. Undesirable side-effects vary from one patient to another, depending on the individual’s state of health. The most frequent side-effects are tooth sensitivity and possible irritation of soft tissues like gums.