Why do some people’s teeth look whiter than others?

There are three general types of teeth discoloration. The dentin in your teeth naturally yellows over time, while the enamel becomes thinner with age.  Some people’s lifestyles cause yellow teeth, such as drinking coffee and tobacco use.  But teeth color varies based on diet, oral hygiene.

Are Teeth Whiteners Safe?

Certainly.  There are some caveats though.  Pregnant or nursing women should not use teeth whitening products, as the effect on small children is unknown.  Also, you could get chemical burns if the bleach is too concentrated within a solution.  The result is to be aware of how concentrated the active ingredient in your teeth whitener is.  If you have any questions about this, ask your dentist or other oral care provider.

But what about sensitive teeth?

For sensitive teeth, I usually recommend that you brush with desensitizing toothpaste twice daily for three weeks before you begin treatment.  This should reduce any sensitivity that your teeth have to the whitening procedure.  It is important to note that when you have sensitive teeth, teeth whitening could be problematic.  I have heard stories from my dentist about laser teeth whitening; how people have needed sedatives to keep from jumping out of the chair when the instrument is in their mouths.

How Quickly can I get my desired shade?

Patience, Grasshopper.  With some products, you can see a change almost instantly, but the desired shade is probably going to take upwards from a week.  In office treatments will occasionally rebound, which means that within a few days you will return to a less white smile.  So, the best way to go is slow and steady.

What about my Dental Restoration hardware, i.e. bridges, crowns, veneers?

If you have dental restoration hardware on your teeth, these will NOT be whitened by a teeth whitener.  They only work on the enamel and the dentin; this means that you may have to get new bridges, crowns and veneers put in to match the whiteness of your teeth.

As always, if you have other questions, your dentist will be able to help you.  He or she is perhaps the best resource when it comes to information about your teeth.