Dental Tips

Teeth Whitening for a Bright, White Smile

Feb 14 • 2 minute read

Is your smile being affected by discoloured teeth? You may not have that unforgettable Mona Lisa smile, but you don’t want your smile to be unforgettable for all the wrong reasons!

Professional teeth whitening can make a big difference on your smile and your self-confidence. Tooth whitening is one of the most popular cosmetic dental procedures because it can have a great effect on how you look and feel.

The colour of your teeth is caused by the reflection of light on the outer layer of your teeth, known as enamel.  Your genes will affect how thick or smooth your enamel is, combined with the dentin layer below it. As we age, the layer of enamel gets thinner, showing more of the dentin layer.

Keep in mind that teeth are not meant to be naturally white. Very few people have brilliant white teeth. The natural colour of teeth can be anywhere from light grey to light yellow off-white shades. Note also that darker skinned or tanned people’s teeth will appear whiter.

While teeth will also darken with age, our habits and what we consume may have an effect.

Tooth discolouration and staining can occur from:

·         Tea or coffee

·         Red wine

·         Dark sodas like Coke or Pepsi

·         Smoking

·         Medications

Your dentist can help you how to determine the best teeth whitening procedure for you.

While there are many home-use products that are effective and safe to use, most dentists will perform tooth whitening. Clinical studies support the safety and effectiveness of home-use bleaching gels when used appropriately.

Surface Whiteners

Surface whiteners use special abrasives in their products to remove surface stains. They come in the form of toothpastes or chewing gums and are readily available to the public.


Bleaching should be done only under a dentist's care. Bleaches are peroxide-based and can alter the colour of the tooth. Note that not all tooth discolourations respond. Patients with fillings, crowns, root canal treatments etc. should consult with a dentist to determine if bleaches will have the desired effect on their tooth discolourations.

Your dentist might use any one of these methods:

Vital Bleaching: on living teeth that have become stained.

Non-vital Bleaching: on teeth that are no longer living, such as those that have had a root canal. The dentist will be able lighten your tooth from the inside out.

Laser Whitening

Power or laser whitening is also available. A bleaching product is applied to your teeth. Then a laser light is shone on the teeth to activate the chemical. The light speeds up the tooth lightening action, lightening the teeth several shades faster.

Note also that teeth-whitening is not a one-time procedure. It will need to be repeated from time to time if you want to maintain the brighter colour.

Whatever the reason your teeth are discoloured, you may want to consider teeth whitening. Imagine your teeth several shades white. Now that’s something to smile about!

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