Teeth whitening is a cosmetic dental procedure that provides many patients with a dazzling smile and renewed confidence.

While whiter teeth are necessarily healthier teeth, many people crave a shining smile. Maybe you’re on a lot of Zoom meetings, and are noticing your smile a little more. Maybe it’s simply time for a little self-care to boost your self-image.

Whatever your reason to want to look at teeth whitening, you may be wondering if it’s for you – especially if you already have tooth sensitivity.

Let’s start with the basics.

Want Whiter Teeth? Brush, Floss and Visit your Dentist Regularly

The simplest way to whiter teeth is to take care of them with good dental hygiene practices. Brushing your teeth with regular toothpaste can gently buff out the stains on the surface of your teeth.

Flossing every day gets rid of food particles between your teeth. If left untouched, the food particles can be a breeding ground for the bacteria. When the bacteria hardens and forms plaque on the surface of your teeth, it can make them look dull and dark. A good mouthwash can help further reduce the harmful bacteria in your mouth.

Considering a whitening toothpaste or wash? That’s an option, but you should be aware that whitening toothpastes can be more abrasive than regular paste, and can actually cause gum sensitivity. The chemicals in whitening mouthwashes can also increase tooth sensitivity.

Watch out for Foods that Stain your Teeth…or Cause Sensitivity

To stop stains in their tracks, try to reduce your consumption of foods and beverages like dark berries, coffee, soda pop, or red wine. You can reduce their staining effects by drinking water afterwards to dilute or wash away the bacteria. You can also brush away the stain-causing elements – but be sure to wait at least 30 minutes after eating to avoid harming the enamel on your teeth.

Acidic foods and sugary foods can also make your tooth sensitivity worse. So be careful when you consume them!

Talk to your Dentist about Tooth Sensitivity and Teeth Whitening

Now you know the basics – let’s get down to it. Can you whiten your teeth if you have tooth sensitivity?

The answer is yes…but you should proceed with caution. The first thing you should do is talk to your dentist. Any teeth whitening procedure can cause tooth sensitivity, even if you don’t already have it. Your dentist can assess the cause of tooth discolouration, and provide advice on the best approaches to teeth whitening.

Over-the-counter tooth whitening gels and strips typically use hydrogen peroxide – a form of bleach – to break down stains and whiten teeth. Bleaching your teeth may cause negative effects. These include short-term sensitivity and soft-tissue irritation. The colour of certain types of fillings can stain more easily, so once you whiten your teeth, the fillings may no longer match your tooth colour.

In addition, there’s a possibility that your dental work like crowns, fillings and dentures may appear darker after teeth whitening as bleach does not whiten them.

Professional Whitening

Professional tooth whitening can last up to two years if you take care of your teeth with regular brushing, flossing, and visits to the dentist to clean your teeth. When done by a trained professional in your dentist’s office, your dentist can keep a close eye on your teeth sensitivity throughout the process.

There are a few methods for whitening teeth. Your dentist can talk to you about what might work best for you, depending on the number of teeth that need to be bleached, how badly they are discoloured, and the potential impact on your tooth sensitivity.

Among the many options, your dentist may suggest:

  • Applying a special bleach on your stained teeth and using heat (or heat and light) to start the bleaching action,
  • Wearing a custom-made mouthguard filled with a special bleach for part of each day, or
  • Brushing with a special bleach mixed in toothpaste.

The Canadian Dental Association recommends that bleaching be done only under a dentist’s care. Tooth-bleaching under controlled dental office conditions can be safe and effective, but not all tooth whitening techniques have undergone rigorous scientific assessment.

Looking for Teeth Whitening Services in Waterdown?

Cranberry Hill Dentistry offers professional teeth whitening for clients in Waterdown, Burlington, Hamilton and beyond. To help keep your teeth clean and healthy, visit us regularly for teeth cleanings and checkups. We also offer cosmetic dentistry services including Invisalign braces, dental implants and crowns.

If you are interested in having your teeth whitened professionally, contact us by filling out the form below or calling us at 905-689-9551 today!

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