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Should you whiten your teeth?

Teeth whitening has become a big trend in America, perhaps in part due to the dazzlingly white smiles of Hollywood we see plastered all over the screen. In Australia teeth whitening is also gaining in popularity. However there are a few factors to consider before you jump on board with the craze. While the general consensus is that professional whitening services are relatively safe teeth whitening really isn't for everyone.

So should you whiten your teeth?

It depends on how you're planning on going about the procedure, as well as the health of your mouth and the results you expect. 

At home kits for teeth whitening can be bought relatively cheaply but not all solutions are created equal. Over the counter products must contain 6% or less hydrogen peroxide and 18% or less carbamide peroxide to be legally sold within Australia. Professional dentists will use a solution with much higher percentages so the procedure will be faster and more effective.

Professional dentists will also mold the solution tray to the shape of your mouth, which should reduce gum sensitivity. Teeth whitening solutions can cause irritation, especially if your gums are already in poor condition. Teeth may also be more sensitive after treatment with some patients experiencing considerable discomfort. This is one of the reasons the health of your teeth should be assessed by a professional before using a teeth whitening solution.

Teeth whitening may also produce unsatisfactory results in some patients. Teeth that have been capped or that have fillings and other preexisting dental procedures will not whiten evenly. The solution used on your teeth targets the enamel of real teeth only, so synthetic materials will remain discolored. This could lead to spots or patches of yellow staining on otherwise bright, white teeth.

Women who are pregnant and adolescents are highly discouraged from using any teeth whitening solutions. Don't forget that these chemicals can be dangerous if used incorrectly. If you are pregnant and considering a teeth whitening procedure, or if you are very young, consider holding off for a year or two. 

Unfortunately teeth whitening does not last forever and most people will need to repeat the procedure within a couple of years to regain their pearly whites. But there is a danger in over whitening your teeth! Whitening your teeth too regularly could cause considerable damage to your teeth and gums and may even turn your teeth an unappealing off white color.

Keep in mind that only a professional dentist should advise you on your suitability for teeth whitening procedures. If in doubt, make an appointment to discuss teeth whitening with your dentist at a place like Revesby Dental Centre, even if you plan on using an at home whitening kit.