Factors That Affect The Success Of Teeth Whitening Treatment As You Get Older

Posted on: 3 June 2015

Although whiter, brighter teeth are a hot commodity these days, tobacco and chemicals in the foods and beverages you eat and drink can leave behind unsightly stains. But these aren't the only things that can discolor and darken your teeth. Aging affects tooth color too. When you get older, the outer layer of your tooth enamel gets thinner. This allows the darker, more yellow dentin (tooth tissue) underneath to show through.

Although you can still use whitening products on your teeth as you get older, the end result likely won't be as dramatic as when you were younger. Certain factors affect how successful bleaching your teeth will be at making them whiter and age-related factors often play a role.

Teeth that are "too white" don't always look natural.

Teeth naturally get darker as you grow older. Whitening will get them a few shades lighter, but you don't want your teeth to look unnaturally white. Talk to your dentist about the shade and whitening method that will best meet your expectations. Your dentist will use a shade guide that you hold close to your mouth to determine the shade of whiteness that compliments your skin tone and hair color. Age and gender are additional considerations in deciding how white to bleach teeth.

Bleaching doesn't affect the color of bonding, crowns, or tooth-colored fillings.

While the rest of your teeth may whiten, these materials won't change color. As a result, the color of your teeth won't match. Bonding materials tend to yellow with time as older bonding materials are less stain resistant than those dentists use now. Consequently, tooth bonding and fillings in your front teeth may be more noticeable after bleaching. If you are concerned about the shades not matching, your dentist can remove the old bonding and replace it with new bonding materials, or you can get porcelain veneers as part of your overall whitening treatment.

Oral changes can affect the results of teeth whitening.

Exposed tooth roots don't bleach. Even if you take the proper care of your teeth, changes occur in your mouth, teeth, and gums as you get older. Receding gums are a common oral problem that occurs gradually but can expose tooth roots over time. Yellow-colored root surfaces don't respond well to bleaching.

Tooth whitening treatments aren't a good idea if the enamel on your teeth is worn or if you have gum disease -- dental problems often associated with aging. Also, if you whiten your teeth too often over the years, they could end up being more translucent instead of opaque. This can make them look bluish or gray in color.

Tooth whitening may not help much if your teeth have stains caused by smoking or medication.

Tooth enamel wears down and becomes pitted as you get older. What begin as microscopic pits eventually get bigger. Brown tobacco stains from smoking or chewing tobacco get into these pits and can be hard to remove, permanently staining teeth.

Some drugs can cause your teeth to yellow if you take them over an extended period of time. Medications that may discolor your teeth include anti-hypertensive medications to treat high blood pressure, antihistamines, and iron supplements your doctor prescribes. Tooth discoloration can also be a side effect of chemotherapy and radiation treatments for cancer.

Brownish-colored teeth usually don't respond as well to tooth whitening as yellowish teeth do.

The truth is neither over-the-counter nor professional bleaching may be able to lighten all the stains on your teeth. Cracks that occur in tooth enamel over time fill with stains, giving teeth a dull appearance. While whitening treatment can improve the appearance of your teeth, it may not make them brilliantly white

For more information, talk to someone like Dr. Robert Petrtyl.