Should I talk to my dentist about tooth whitening before I do it?

Actually it is a good idea to talk to your dentist prior to performing any at home oral treatment such as whitening. There may be loose fillings, decay, gum problems and/or recession that should be considered or treated prior to whitening teeth.

In addition, tooth whitening may not be effective for discolored restorations, crowns or even some tooth discolorations.
Rather than heading to the local cosmetic counter or shopping mall in search of tooth whiteners, start with a dental checkup. Your dentist can evaluate, diagnose and treat any pressing oral health conditions and advise you about different options to safely and effectively whiten your teeth. Your dentist also can determine whether whitening will work for you. When the dentist diagnoses the cause of the discoloration -- injury, stains from food or tobacco, antibiotic treatment as a child or other causes -- a suitable tooth-whitening method or product can be selected. The diagnosis is important; otherwise, you could be wasting time and money because whitening treatments work only on natural tooth enamel, not on crowns, veneers, bonding materials or tooth-colored fillings.

A thorough dental exam should be done before tooth whitening. Your dentist can evaluate the shade of your teeth and recommend treatments to whiten your teeth. Existing fillings and crowns will not whiten. Cavities should be filled before whitening as the whitening agents can harm the tooth through the cavity. Some discolorations of the teeth may not respond to whitening. Your dentist can best evaluate your condition and advise you on effective treatments.

Before whitening your teeth, it is important to talk with your dentist. This will allow your dentist to examine and clean your teeth to get them in good shape prior to whitening. The American Dental Association recommends that you only participate in teeth whitening under the supervision of your dentist. This is to ensure that you use the treatment that is best for you.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.