Everyone desires to have white shiny attractive teeth, but the reality is not everyone is able to enjoy them without work. There are teeth whitening treatments that can help to make stained teeth become whiter, though under certain circumstances. If you are interested in whitening your teeth, it is important to note that you should first speak to your doctor before using any teeth whitening products.

There are several questions you need to ask your dentist:

What caused the discoloration of your teeth?

When you understand what caused your teeth to be discolored, then you will be able to seek the right whitening treatment and your dentist will most likely know what caused the discoloration. The whitening of teeth does not work the same way on all teeth stains and discolorations. Teeth that are yellow have a greater chance of looking brighter after the whitening treatment as compared to those that are black or grey.

In case your doctor confirms that the cause of your stains are food, tobacco, drinks or medicine, you may have to avoid them so that they may not delay the whitening process of your teeth once you start the procedure. If the discoloring of your teeth is because of a medical condition, your dentist will give you the best way forward whether to progress with the whitening of your teeth or not.

Is it safe to whiten your teeth?

Since some whitening treatments may involve use of chemicals, you need to find out if the procedure is safe. Teeth whitening is a treatment that is non-invasive and no surgery is needed. However, the products used for the treatment may contain hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. If you use non standard products, the chemical concentration may be high and you may risk getting chemical burns.

Are there any side effects?

There are risks involved in teeth whitening because of the use of chemicals. When the person performing the procedure on your teeth accidentally brings your gums or inner cheeks in contact with the bleaching agent, it may result to serious chemical burns in your mouth.

Some whitening products may leave your teeth and gums feeling very sensitive after the treatment. Seeing your dentist beforehand will help you prepare for any possible side effects.

If by any chance you are an expectant mother or a new one, you should avoid any teeth whitening treatments. This is because the chemicals may enter your bloodstream, reach the placenta and affect the fetus or may affect the breast milk and subsequently affect the baby.

Can all the stains be whitened?

The good news is that it is indeed possible to remove stains, even those as a result of medication; the bad news is that different types of stains require different kind of treatments.

The yellow shade of stain that occurs naturally will most likely whiten faster than other stains. Stains added to your teeth as a result of tobacco, medication, and food would take longer to brighten. Natural yellow stains will probably fade away in one to two weeks after a whitening treatment. Teeth with grayish or bluish stains will take three to four weeks before the teeth seem brighter after treatment.

Teeth stained with tobacco take around three months to whiten because of how deep the stains are. Stains caused by medication take the longest to disappear, around a maximum of six months, depending on how severe the stain is.

Non vital teeth do not experience any challenges with whitening although if not careful, they may end up being brighter than the rest of the teeth. Consulting a dentist first will help you avoid having a differently shaded non vital tooth.

Can you use teeth whitening treatments with braces?

Most dentists will naturally recommend that you remain patient until you finish your orthodontic treatment before you can perform the teeth whitening treatment. However, if you still want to go ahead with the whitening, you can still do it even with the braces in place but the results will not be as significant as you expect.

If you are carrying out a do-it-yourself teeth whitening at home, ensure that you custom-make the tray to leave room for the brackets to avoid dislodging.

Another disadvantage of whitening your teeth while still wearing braces is that when you remove the braces eventually, the areas that were covered by the braces may still have stains and cause an unmatched appearance of your teeth. This will cause you to plan another teeth whitening treatment and will be more time consuming and costly.