The thought of having white, stainless teeth and a glowing smile is often attractive for many people. This is why tooth whitening is among the most commonly carried out dental procedures. It involves the removal of stains from the inner and outer surfaces of the teeth to result in bright white teeth whenever you smile.

While tooth whitening is common, it may not be for everyone. The success of a tooth whitening procedure will depend on your oral health, the current structure of your teeth, and any underlying medical conditions you may have.

Why your teeth may lose their glow

There are many factors that may cause your teeth to lose their glow and become stained. Some of these causes are lifestyle related, such as using tobacco, consuming foods that have high fluoride content, and drinking coloured liquids on a regular basis.

Poor oral hygiene has also been shown to lead to the gradual yellowing of teeth over time. Old age is another cause of teeth losing their white colour as the enamel layer continues to wear down over time.

What methods are used to whiten teeth?

A tooth gets discoloured primarily through extrinsic and intrinsic methods. As a result, the whitening method used will either target the inner or outer tooth surface.

Extrinsic methods

Extrinsic methods involve removing stains from the enamel layer. This will primarily involve polishing the tooth or using stain-removing materials such as whitening toothpaste.

Intrinsic methods

To remove the deep inner stains from the tooth, special gels can be placed that are soaked up by the tooth and are able to penetrate deep into the inner layers. These bleaching gels can then eliminate inner stains and result in whiter teeth.

 Are you a good candidate for tooth whitening?

To determine if tooth whitening is right for you, consider the overall health of your teeth.

Consider your type of discoloration

Deeply stained teeth will often require more intricate treatment methods. If you have conditions such as gum disease, loose or crooked teeth, and tooth cavities, you may need to have these conditions treated first before you can whiten your teeth.

Consider the side effects

If you have very sensitive teeth, the whitening process can lead to soreness or high sensitivity for a certain period after the procedure. Consider if you're okay with taking painkillers for some time after your teeth are whitened.

You should also be aware that whitening does not last forever. You should be prepared to practice good oral hygiene and to regularly check in with your dentist to ensure the best results over time.