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Three Reasons Why Teeth Whitening May Not Be Effective

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Teeth whitening treatment is an effective way to brighten a smile that has been dulled by time, food, and bad habits such as smoking. In fact, it has a 90-percent success rate when done correctly. Unfortunately, there are a few instances when a person may not achieve the desired results after undergoing a teeth whitening procedure. Here are three of those times and possible solutions to the problem.

You're Trying to Whiten Dental Appliances

One reason teeth may not get as white as you would expect is because you are actually trying to whiten oral appliances rather than real teeth. Fillings, dental implants, veneers, and similar dental products do not respond to teeth whitening, because these items are not porous enough to absorb the chemicals used to lift stains from teeth surfaces. As a result, teeth whitening often leads to the undesirable outcome where regular teeth end up several shades lighter than the false ones.

There aren't a lot of viable solutions to this particular problem, especially if you have dental implants. Polishing the surface of the false teeth may remove some of the staining. It may be possible to remove fillings, veneers, and crowns and replace them with ones that match the color of your newly whitened teeth.

There are some companies who claim to make products that will whiten dental appliances. However, it's important to discuss this with your dentist first to make sure they're safe to use. Those products may contain chemicals that could damage your oral appliances, regular teeth, or oral tissues.

The Stains are Caused by Medication

Another reason why teeth whitening may not improve the look of your smile is because the stains are permanently bonded to teeth. If you were given the antibiotic tetracycline as a child or your mother took this or similar medications while pregnant, the tooth stains can't be removed. Tetracycline bonds to the teeth as they are developing, causing permanent discoloration, and no amount of bleaching will remove it.

The only way to get whiter teeth in this case is to have veneers placed over the discolored ones. Veneers are thin shells of porcelain overlaid on top of natural teeth. The dentist can match the color of the veneers to the surrounding teeth so that your smile looks natural.

As noted previously, though, veneers don't respond to bleaching. Therefore, have your non-stained teeth whitened first and then have the veneers placed afterwards to ensure your teeth always match whenever you undergo a whitening treatment.

Your Teeth are Too Stained

Sometimes teeth are so heavily stained, they don't show any marked improvement after a whitening treatment. This is typically an issue for people who smoked, drank coffee and wine, ate teeth staining foods, and didn't practice good oral hygiene for years. The stains become so deeply embedded into the teeth that it may appear the whitening procedure had no effect.

One option to fix this problem is to have your teeth whitened multiple times to see if the dentist can get the stains out. The success of this option depend on several factors including your starting shade and how well you can avoid engaging in habits that cause teeth staining (e.g. stop smoking).

Be aware, though, that whitening your teeth too often can also hurt your oral health. For instance, you may develop tooth sensitivity or aggravate gum tissues. The dentist can help you determine how many treatments are safe for you to undergo.

If multiple teeth whitening treatments aren't a viable option, then veneers would be the alternative solution to this problem as well.

For more information about these and other teeth whitening challenges, contact a cosmetic dentist or a clinic such as Suncoast Dental Center.