How Often Should You Be Whitening Teeth?

Who doesn’t want a bright beautiful smile? Even if you take care of your teeth, avoiding coffee and cola, your teeth will discolor as a natural part of aging. Teeth whitening will give you pearly white teeth again, but some worry about too much of a good thing. So, how often should you be whitening your teeth?

The American Dental Association states that ” bleaching techniques have been shown to be effective, although results may vary depending on such factors as type of stain, age of patient, concentration of the active agent, and treatment time and frequency.” There are sometimes also short-term side effects. Patients may experience “tooth sensitivity and/or gingival irritation”.

There is significant research showing that teeth whitening, performed from a reputable professional, is safe. That said, tooth sensitivity is a possibility. The product used can also inflame gums. If you already have sensitive teeth, there are things that help:

• Wearing the tray shorter periods,
• Waiting for a few days between treatments,
• Asking your pharmacist for a high fluoride-containing product to help re-mineralize teeth, and
• Use a desensitizing toothpaste for 2 weeks before the start of treatment.

In-office treatments may require weeks or months to achieve the desired results. This all depends on the type and severity of stains. For instance, nicotine stained teeth take up to 3 months for a good result. The results all depend on the individual, and can last several years. Nonetheless, age and lifestyle play a part.

Another teeth whitening consideration is the type of staining. Extrinsic stains sit on the surface of teeth, and are the easiest to remove. Intrinsic stains are under the enamel, and are very difficult. Determining the cause of intrinsic stains helps inform treatment.

At the end of the day, teeth whitening is one of the most cost-effective cosmetic procedures for improving the look of your smile. While it is not without some risk, it is safe when performed or supervised by a professional. If you would like to talk more about how often you should be whitening your teeth, or need more information, please contact us.

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