Are you unhappy because discolored teeth make your smile look older, unhealthy, and unattractive? You might be considering teeth whitening to restore your smile’s youthful, attractive brightness. 

If you are hoping to get the best results possible from teeth whitening, let Columbus, Ohio cosmetic dentist Dr. Mike Firouzian help. He will appraise your teeth and help you decide if teeth whitening is the right approach for your smile. In addition, here are some steps you can take to improve your teeth whitening results. 

young adult woman smiling with teeth

Choose the Right Whitening for Your Stains

To get the best results, it’s important to choose teeth whitening, sometimes called teeth bleaching, that is best for your stains. 

There are three factors to consider when deciding on the right teeth whitening: source, severity, and color. 

The source of stains can be either extrinsic or intrinsic. Extrinsic stains come from outside the tooth and include food stains, drink stains, tobacco stains, and other sources of staining that you put in your mouth. Intrinsic stains originate within the teeth. This includes things like a bruised tooth, an infected tooth, and enamel defects. Teeth bleaching works well on extrinsic stains. For intrinsic stains, it’s best to cover stained teeth with restorations like porcelain veneers

For extrinsic stains, it’s also important to factor in the severity of the stains. Mild staining might respond to over-the-counter whitening treatments. More severe staining requires professional teeth whitening. In some cases, even extrinsic stains might be best covered with veneers or another restoration. Severe stains or certain types of stains, like tetracycline stains, might not respond well and might take a long time to achieve good results. 

Finally, the color of the stains will impact how well they respond to whitening. Yellow and brown stains respond better to whitening than gray or blue stains. 

Choose the Right Cosmetic Dentist

When you get professional teeth whitening, you should choose a Columbus cosmetic dentist who devotes much of their practice to cosmetic dentistry. Many dentists offer teeth whitening, but a dentist who doesn’t do much cosmetic dentistry might not be able to steer you to the right whitening treatment and guide your treatment to achieve the best results. You also want to work with a dentist who is prepared to provide cosmetic restorations if you need them. 

Get Whitening Before You Get Restorations

If you are considering a smile makeover, your Columbus cosmetic dentist might recommend restorations on some but not all of your teeth. You might choose teeth whitening to improve the appearance of teeth that you aren’t getting restored. If you do, it’s best to get teeth whitening before you get your restorations. 

There are two reasons why. First, you want your restorations to match your whitened teeth, not your stained teeth. Teeth bleaching doesn’t work the same on restorations as it does on natural teeth, so it’s best to get the best color match you can first. Second, some restorations might be negatively impacted by teeth whitening, as we’ll talk about in a moment. 

Choose Restorations Resistant to Whitening

When used properly under the guidance of a Columbus cosmetic dentist, teeth whitening is safe for your teeth. However, in some cases, teeth-whitening compounds (usually a form of peroxide) can have a negative effect on your restorations. 

Teeth whitening compound can cause some restorations to:

  • Debond
  • Roughen
  • Soften

Peroxide will attack the molecules in the bonding cement, which can weaken the bond between your tooth and the restoration. This can cause your restorations to come off. This is a risk with most types of bonding cement, so it’s important to limit the amount of whitener you get behind your restorations. 

Whiteners can attack the surface of some restorative materials. Like acid, this etches the material, giving it a rough surface. The rough surface causes it to lose its shiny luster, may make it feel “fuzzy,” and may make it more susceptible to staining. 

Even worse, the whitener can soften your restorations. This will make them more likely to break or wear, leading to early failure. Composite restorations are the most susceptible to this, but some ceramics are, too. The most resistant materials are lithium disilicate and zirconia, so ask for these types if you expect to do a lot of whitening after you get your restorations (see “staining habits” below). 

Follow Your Cosmetic Dentist’s Instructions

Another important thing to remember when whitening your teeth is to always follow your dentist’s instructions. When you work with a Columbus cosmetic dentist, they are experienced in helping people get great results while protecting teeth and restorations. The instructions they give you will help you achieve the results you want safely. Not following their instructions can jeopardize your results or lead to damage to restorations, teeth, and gums. 

If the instructions are unclear, ask for clarification. If you find yourself in a situation that your instructions don’t cover, ask for additional information. Finally, if you’re uncertain about the situation, pause whitening until you can talk to your dentist about it. 

Avoid Staining Habits

Teeth whitening isn’t permanent, but it can be renewed, and it can be long-lasting if you avoid habits that can lead to teeth staining. Some of the most common staining habits include:

  • Drinking coffee or tea
  • Drinking wine
  • Eating or drinking chocolate
  • Eating berries or other staining foods
  • Smoking or using other tobacco products
  • Smoking marijuana

After teeth whitening, try to cut down on these habits to extend your beautiful results. If you can’t cut down on them, take steps to reduce staining. For staining beverages, drink through a straw to minimize contact between the liquid and your teeth. You can also drink coffee or tea with milk, which contains proteins that protect your teeth from stains. For staining foods, follow up with hard cheese, chew sugar-free gum, or at least rinse with water to reduce staining. 

Get Regular Cleanings

Surface stains can migrate into your teeth after prolonged contact. Roughened teeth can also trap staining molecules more easily. Regular professional cleanings will help keep your teeth bright. Your hygienist will remove surface deposits, then polish your teeth, which will help them shed future stains. 

Teeth Whitening in Columbus

Are you unhappy with the color of your teeth? If so, let Columbus cosmetic dentist Dr. Mike Firouzian help. He will determine what type of whitening is best for your smile and give you the treatment that will yield the best results for you. 

Please call (614) 848-5001 or use our online form to request an appointment at Firouzian Dentistry, located in the Crosswoods neighborhood of Columbus, OH.