Who Shouldn’t Use Teeth Whitening Products?

Published:February 9th, 2012

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Teeth whitening is generally a very safe cosmetic dental procedure provided it is carried out correctly, and it can provide a huge boost to self-confidence, but it’s not for everyone. Certain people with specific health issues should avoid teeth whitening procedures and these groups include:

Anyone Who Is Pregnant or Breastfeeding
If you are currently pregnant then it’s best to avoid tooth whitening for the duration of your pregnancy, and also while breast feeding. You should also avoid having your teeth whitened and if you are currently trying to become pregnant.

Anyone under the Age of 16
Teeth whitening or bleaching isn’t recommended for children under the age of 16 as their teeth are still developing. Children tend to have much larger pulp chambers than adults as these contain the blood supply necessary for growing teeth. Using whitening treatments could cause the pulp chamber to become irritated and teeth may become sensitive. Most children have naturally white teeth anyway, and they shouldn’t need whitening at this age.

Anyone with Sensitive Teeth or Gums
If you have any issues with tooth sensitivity or have receding gums then it’s essential to book a full consultation with your dentist before using any whitening products. Using whitening products on sensitive teeth could make the problem worse. Your dentist will be able to tell you whether it’s safe for you to whiten your teeth or not.

Anyone with Dental Health Problems
If you have any dental health problems such as gum disease or tooth decay, or are prone to teeth grinding then these conditions will need to be treated before you can have your teeth safely whitened. If you were to try to use any whitening products there is the possibility that they could penetrate the tooth, causing sensitivity and even pain. if you are currently undergoing treatment for serious medical conditions such as cancer you should also seek advice before having your teeth whitened

Anyone Who Has Already Had Substantial Dental Restorations
If you have already had a substantial number of porcelain crowns and bridges, or have had your teeth bonded or restored using resin composite materials, then you need to be aware that whitening treatments will not affect their colour. You cannot bleach porcelain or acrylic, and if these restorations have been matched to your natural tooth colour then you could end up with a two tone mouth. Wherever possible it’s best to whiten your teeth before having dental restorations so they can be matched to the new colour.

Anyone Who’s Teeth Have Become Stained through Antibiotic Use or Have Become Stained Internally
Sometimes tooth staining can be internal, and can have been caused by root canal treatment, fillings or simply decay. Stains can also be caused by the use of certain antibiotics, especially tetracycline. In these cases bleaching may not have much of an effect and you may need to consult your dentist for alternative options including internal bleaching, or even veneers or crowns.

Keeping it Realistic
Even if you are the perfect candidate to have your teeth white and it’s important to keep your expectations realistic. If you just want to achieve a healthier and younger looking smile then that’s fine, but if you want to achieve a Hollywood white smile it’s worth bearing in mind that the results could look very unnatural, and can be very hard to maintain. All teeth whitening procedures are temporary, and your teeth will gradually revert to their normal shade.

About the author

Alison, is a UK born and educated dental professional with over 25 years experience.

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