Teeth Whitening When Your Teeth Aren't in the Best Shape: Is It Possible?

15 January 2018
 Categories: Dentist, Blog


With an abundance of available teeth whitening products and services available, it's not a stretch to suggest that a gleaming white movie star smile is something that a lot of people are after. But what about you? You might have dabbled in some form of teeth whitening with mixed results, but if your teeth are at all damaged then you might be hesitant to try making them whiter. You might have some mild form of periodontal disease, or perhaps even untreated cavities. If any of these things apply to you, you might be wondering... Is it possible to have your teeth effectively whitened?

More Harm Than Good

In short, yes, you can still whiten your teeth when they might be damaged. But you probably shouldn't bother with any of the over the counter products that are available, because they're not going to be particularly effective and can end up doing more harm than good. But why is this the case?

Active Ingredients and Sensitivity

Many teeth whitening systems utilise carbamide peroxide and/or hydrogen peroxide as their active ingredients. While these agents can be effective in many cases (when your teeth are in good shape to begin with), you must remember that your teeth are comprised of a number of different elements. Teeth whitening systems will only affect the enamel covering your teeth. If this enamel has degraded due to periodontal disease, then the results will likely be rather lacklustre. If your dental pulp (the nerve inside the tooth) has been exposed, then these whitening systems have the potential to cause severe discomfort. So now what? Avoid teeth whitening altogether or put up with results that are patchy and potentially uncomfortable? Not quite…

A More Precise Approach

Your dentist cannot restore your missing dental enamel, but they can whiten your teeth with more precision than is possible with an over the counter product, avoiding patchy results and increased, uncomfortable levels of sensitivity. If any cavities need to be filled, your dentist can then whiten the tooth around the dental cement to achieve a uniformity of colour. In instances when dental pulp is exposed or when too much enamel is missing to make the process worthwhile, your dentist can also discuss your other options, such as dental veneers.

A gleaming white movie star smile can be achieved, but if your teeth already have some issues, those over the counter products probably aren't the way to do it.