The Ethics of Teeth Whitening

Throughout history, people have tried nearly everything, from pastes containing pepper and rock salt to a mouthwash made from goat’s milk and urine, to whiten their teeth. Luckily, we have a few more options than our forefathers, including a whole range of toothpastes, rinses, gums, mints, and gels. Most dentists would agree that teeth whitening provides one of the most conservative methods for improving your smile and enhancing your self-esteem. However, not all whitening products are the same and the American Dental Association recommends that you always talk to your dentist about teeth whitening before you commit to any kind of treatment.

The Potential Dangers of Teeth Whitening

For the most part, teeth whitening will not damage your teeth. Many intensive whitening systems do cause some sensitivity, but this generally decreases within a few days. The real dangers of over-the-counter bleaching products lay in their ability to conceal problems your dentist may need to know about. For instance, intensive teeth bleaching can mask tell-tale signs of early tooth decay or abnormalities within a tooth’s pulp or root canal. During a routine checkup, a dentist could miss these signs because they’ve been erased. The resulting lack of diagnosis and early treatment could cause serious complications and result in the need for expensive, complicated procedures later.

The Causes of Tooth Discoloration

Simply put, you just can’t whiten some stains. Nearly all over-the-counter and dentist-administered teeth whitening systems can effectively brighten extrinsic staining. This kind of staining results from activities like drinking coffee and red wine or smoking cigarettes, where the discolorations are located on the outside layer of the tooth. In fact, at-home whitening trays, such as the kind offered by Lake Forest cosmetic dentist Dr. James Fondriest, can effectively brighten extrinsically stained teeth by several shades. Intrinsic discolorations, on the other hand, come from within the tooth and are highly resistant to bleaching. Instead of using multiple whitening procedures which would jeopardize the strength and health of the teeth, an ethical cosmetic dentist will suggest solutions such as veneers or bonding to improve the appearance of intrinsically stained teeth.

Teeth Bleaching and Patient Expectations

Most importantly, you should have realistic expectations about the brightness of your smile. Before and after photos offer the best way for you to see just how vibrant your smile has become. And if teeth whitening just won’t work for you, talk to your cosmetic dentist about your options.

Dr. Fondrist practices ethical and artistic cosmetic dentistry and does not recommend rapid in-office whitening systems which can damage the integrity of your teeth. To schedule a consultation, contact us. A 60045 cosmetic dentist, Dr. Fondriest proudly offers cosmetic dentistry services to patients from Lake Forest and the North Shore suburbs near Chicago.