Tooth discoloration is a normal part of aging, the result of years of usage and wear, but can be quite noticeable in those who smoke or drink coffee regularly. Many older adults wander if there are age restrictions with regard to teeth whitening procedures; the good news is that for most adults there are not.
Aging And Teeth
Generally, there are no upward age limitations when it comes to this procedure, but there are restrictions for those who are young, particularly children. Most dentists will not whiten the teeth of a child because their teeth are still in development, and need time to complete their growth cycle. For most adults however, this procedure is perfectly safe.
The more important question that must be asked when it comes to the whitening of teeth is their overall condition. As long as your teeth are in an optimal state of health, many dentists will go ahead with the procedure, but if they are not, they will first recommend restorative care so that any existing issues with your teeth are resolved before they are whitened.
Each tooth consists of a layer which contains surface enamel, which is semitransparent and naturally white. Beneath is the dentin layer, which has reduced transparency and is darker in shade. Dentin is tough and calcified, similar to bone. Women tend to have teeth which are bit lighter than men, primarily because their teeth aren’t as large and as a consequence have less dentin bulk. Generally, the cuspid and molars will be darker than other teeth due to their size, in both males and females.
How Teeth Are Whitened
Dentists use a variety of techniques to whiten teeth. Their goal is to restore the natural shade of the underlying tooth, typically by eradicating stains on the surface. Typical things which cause tooth stains aside from smoking and drinking coffee are tea, tobacco and wine. Overtime, any buildup of tartar or calculus which occurs on the tooth will also stain them. Your dentist will clean, scale and then polish them.
Unlike most dental procedures, the whitening of teeth is largely cosmetic; aside from removing tartar or calculus it does little to boost the health of the tooth, but will give you a much more pleasant smile. In the past bleach was often used for this procedure, but more advanced procedures such as lasers are now used in many dental offices. Some dentists also use hydrogen peroxide.
Teeth whitening can be broken down into two broad categories, which are procedures designed to eliminate surface stains and procedures which eliminate stains which have entered the enamel. Once a stain gains entry into the enamel it is very difficult to remove using basic methods such as micro abrasion or air polishes. When a patient’s teeth is exposed to peroxide, it will enter the enamel’s structure and dissolve stains which are present within dentin.