Help! I Want Whiter Teeth. What Can I Do?

Bleaching your teeth is one of the most conservative and cost-effective dental treatments to improve or enhance your smile. However, it is not risk-free and is best performed under professional supervision and following a pre-treatment dental examination and diagnosis.

Here’s what I found out when speaking with Dr. Sangeetha Kariakatte of BrightSmile Dental, in Calgary, AB.


1.  I am considering tooth whitening, what should I know before hand?

“Teeth can appear dark for a variety of reasons ranging from simple staining from everyday diet, smoking and other oral habits, dental decay or leaky restorations. Different indications require different treatment approaches and some conditions like dental decay will not be removed by tooth bleaching and may subsequently progress and require the need for more extensive and expensive treatments.

Patients considering over-the-counter products are still recommended to have a dental examination so that a professional will be able to assess all the above mentioned factors. Patients should also be reminded that they may unknowingly purchase products that may have little or no beneficial effect on the colour of their teeth and may also have the potential to cause more harm.”

2.  Are there different types of bleaching systems available?

“Dentist-managed bleaching treatments may include in-office bleaching, at-home use of bleaching trays at night or during the day, strip-based materials, or a combination of these treatment methods. The choice between the methods and types of products relate to many factors, including the patient’s lifestyle, dental history, tooth sensitivity, and discolouration type.

With tray bleaching, teeth normally lighten in 3 days to 6 weeks. However, whitening of nicotine-stained teeth may take 1-3 months. The average number of in-office visits for maximum whitening is three, with a range of 1 to 6 visits, so the patient should be prepared for additional in-office treatments or for a combination of office visits and tray delivery to complete the process.”

3. What should I expect following my treatment and how long will it take?

“The length of treatment and expected outcome will depend on the cause of the discolouration, as well as the chosen product and technique and the amount of lightening achieved varies from patient to patient.  Pre-treatment photographs and shade guides are often helpful to record a baseline to better assess treatment success.  Patient expectations may be unrealistic unless cosmetic issues with existing restorations are addressed initially.”

4.  My teeth are sensitive, can I still bleach them?  What about my crown?

“Mild to moderate tooth sensitivity can occur in up to two-thirds of users during early stages of bleaching treatment.  Sensitivity is generally related to the peroxide concentration of the material and the contact time. Severe grinding habits, existing permanent restorations, shade mismatch or allergy to bleaching products which may worsen with bleaching trays can also serve as some limitations.

If a patient has a history of sensitive teeth or experiences sensitivity during treatment, there are options to help manage tooth sensitivity.  You should speak with your oral health care provider to determine the best treatment plan.”

5.  Are there any safety considerations that I should be aware of?

“As discussed above, bleaching treatment in the dental office or at home may cause short-term tooth sensitivity and/or gingival irritation. More severe damage is possible with high hydrogen peroxide concentrations. While available evidence supports the safety of using bleaching materials within a specific concentration by dental professionals, there are concerns with the use of at-home bleaching materials with high hydrogen peroxide concentrations.  It is always best to speak with your dentist before proceeding with whichever bleaching option you choose.”

BrightSmile Dental has evening, weekend and same-day emergency appointments available for your convenience.  They also offer student and senior discounts.  Give them a call and book your complimentary, no obligation consultation.

BSmile Navy Transparent

NW:  403.239.7645  Crowfoot Way  SW:  403.255.7737 Glenmore Landing

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