What You Should Know About Teeth Whitening

What You Should Know About Teeth Whitening

At Hudson Family Dental in Union City, NJ, we get asked quite a lot about teeth whitening treatments and whether over-the-counter whitening kits are a good option for enhancing their smiles. Unfortunately, the answer isn’t exactly yes or no. Before we discuss teeth whitening options, it is important that you understand how teeth staining works.

Extrinsic Stain Teeth Whitening

An “extrinsic stain” is a tooth stain which occurs on the surface of the tooth. Most over-the-counter product target these surface stains (always fully read the labels!) which can easily be removed with a regular dental cleaning appointment. Over-the-counter teeth whitening products, however, are not meant to address internally stained teeth.

Intrinsic Stain Teeth Bleaching

An “intrinsic stain” is tooth staining which occurs within the tooth. Staining that occurs within the tooth does not respond to the same treatments as those on the surface of the tooth, and bleaching must be used. While this may sound a bit harsh, it is a harmless process which uses peroxide, not actual bleach.

Can Everyone Get Teeth Whitening?

Another important thing to consider about teeth whitening is whether or not you are a candidate for over-the-counter or professional teeth whitening. Do you have crowns, fillings, veneers? Certain dental treatments do not bleach a tooth well, leaving your smile looking quite odd. If you have had prior dental work, we recommend visiting our Union City cosmetic dentist to see what we recommend.

So, back to the original question. Are over-the-counter teeth whitening kits a good option for brightening your smile? We’d say no, with proper dental care and routine dental appointments surface stains shouldn’t be a problem. Over-the-counter teeth whitening products are also known to cause tooth sensitivity and gum irritation, along with the fact that they can take months to even remove surface stains.

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