Will bleaching work for me? By DR. JOHN P. KLOOSTER, DDS, PLC Belmont Denistry There are several different approaches to bleaching or whitening your teeth. Options range from utilizing “whitening” toothpastes and take home kits to professionally having your teeth whitened at a dental office. The first thing to be aware of is that bleaching is only effective on your natural tooth structure. Crowns, fillings and other artificial teeth cannot be lightened with bleaching. This is important to realize because if you do bleach more that likely your previous dental work will appear darker than your now lighter bleached teeth. It may be necessary to replace previous work after the leaching process for a more balanced and matched look. The second thing to be aware of is that bleaching works predominately on external staining of the teeth. This includes staining or darkening as a result of smoking and/or consistent coffee or tea drinking. Internal staining caused from trauma, previous root canal therapy or developmental issues may not respond to external bleaching techniques. To lighten or bleach internal staining it may be necessary to have a specialty service called internal bleaching where bleach is placed within the tooth for a specified amount of time. This requires a dentist to place, monitor and remove the bleaching material. It also may be necessary for place a veneer or porcelain crown to ultimately achieve the shade you need to match the rest of your teeth. Typically professional bleaching offered through your dental office will achieve tha most predictable results. It usually involves applying concentrated bleaching gels to the teeth either directly within the office or with a customized take home tray. It’s a nice route to go because the office can help to customize your care in response to your desired result. Also, if sensitivity is a concern most offices will have strategies to help to minimize and often eliminate it as a side effect. We’d be happy to discuss with you further and exciting prospect of whitening and improving your smile! Give us a call today at (616) 284-3200 for a free consult.