Teeth whitening treatment from a dentist is a great way to significantly improve the brightness of your smile. Professional whitening consists of applying a bleaching agent to the visible surface of teeth and using a dental laser to remove discoloration and make teeth appear whiter. It is safe and produces reliable results. Dentists typically recommend…
Can People with Tooth Decay Get Teeth Whitening Treatments
Tooth decay and teeth whitening treatments simply do not mix. The bleaching agents used for the treatment weaken enamel. That can lead to discomfort and damage to teeth structures if the patient has existing issues like cavities. If the patient’s teeth are healthy, the procedure only leads to temporary increased teeth sensitivity that should go away within a few days. Teeth whitening treatments have gained a lot of popularity in recent years due to how drastically they can enhance the way a person’s smile looks.
Exploring why teeth whitening treatments should not be performed on decayed teeth
Teeth whitening treatments are done using compounds with bleaching properties like hydrogen peroxide and hydrogen carbamide. These chemicals penetrate past enamel into the dentin, removing stains from deep within teeth and their exterior. The process puts a lot of strain on the outer protective layer of teeth known as the enamel and the result is often increased teeth sensitivity that subsides in a couple of days.
When a tooth has already been damaged, the bleaching agent used for whitening treatments can get into the tooth’s pulp, leading to irritation, pain, and discomfort. In some cases, permanent damage might be done to teeth structures.
Dentists usually recommend fixing tooth decay before proceeding with whitening treatments. Options that might be recommended to patients with decayed teeth who are interested in whitening treatments include:
- Fillings: Silver amalgam fillings are the traditional way of addressing tooth decay and they remain the most affordable option. However, this approach is not the most aesthetically pleasing and the patient might end up with pearly white teeth with dark spots on their biting surfaces
- Composite bonding: This is typically a more appropriate way to fill up cavities and other damage caused by tooth decay. The composite can be color-matched with the shade of white being targeted for their teeth whitening treatment, so it does not ruin the way the person’s smile looks
- Cosmetic restorations: A dentist might recommend dental crowns and other restorations like onlays and inlays when there is severe damage to the patient’s teeth. Whitening treatments have no effect on restorations like crowns so dentists often prefer to install them after whitening their patients’ teeth. A temporary solution like fillings can be used to protect the patient’s teeth for the whitening procedure
Once all existing dental issues the patient is dealing with have been addressed, preparations can begin for the patient’s teeth whitening treatment. Customized mouth trays are typically used for professional whitening treatments, so an impression of the patient’s mouth is taken. This can be done by having the person bite into a mold or by making a model of their teeth with digital images. The mold or data is sent to a lab that makes mouth trays. It should be ready in two weeks so the patient can start their whitening treatments.
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Teeth whitening treatments can make your teeth whiter than they ever have been. Call or stop by our McLean clinic to learn more about the process.
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