What are effective teeth whitening options for a smoker?
Hi I'm in my mid 20s. I'm a smoker. But at the same time I would like to have white teeth. Is it true that yellow teeth is genetic? If yes, then my teeth are naturally yellow. I did ask the dentist for recommendations for whitening. The dentist told me to stop smoking. Sadly, I'm still a smoker. I understand that after whitening, your teeth will be easily stained for that few weeks if I'm still smoking. Are they any other ways I could get my teeth whitened?
The shape, size, positioning and colour of your teeth are affected by your genes.
External stains (such as those from coffee, tea, red wine, tobacco and other dietary items) can be polished off but these will return as long as your teeth are exposed to the staining agent. It is normal for permanent teeth to get more yellow as we age.
This is independent of lifestyle and diet and is a natural part of the aging process.
Quitting smoking has many overall health benefits apart from reducing staining of your teeth. Smokers are at increased risk of oral cancer (cancers arising from the tissues of the palate, cheek lining, tongue, pharynx and larynx) and periodontal (gum) disease.
Smoking also reduces your body's ability to heal and fight off infection.
I would encourage you to seek out a doctor's help to quit smoking rather than trying on your own unsuccessfully. Chemical tooth whitening is a good way of non-invasively whitening your enamel.
This can be done using bleaching gel worn in custom-made trays or using in-office light assisted bleaching with stronger bleaching gel.
The drawbacks of bleaching include the inability to whiten artificial dental materials (fillings, crowns), there may be transient teeth sensitivity during or after the procedure and the effects are not permanent because the natural aging process will still continue even if you bleach your teeth.
Bleaching requires top ups every 3 months using take home trays to maintain the freshest colour possible. For the first 2 days after light assisted-bleaching, the tooth surface may be more porous than usual and the tooth may be more susceptible to external stains. It is advised that you abstain from smoking or consuming staining foods/drinks during this time.
For patients who do not get a satisfactory result from bleaching alone, or if there are other issues with tooth alignment, shape or size, then you may consider masking the tooth surface with veneers or crowns.
Smokers or heavy coffee/red wine-drinkers tend to stain many types of plastic dental materials (composite and acrylic) so the best colour-stable material is ceramic. However, this requires some trimming of the teeth to be treated, so this is an irreversible procedure. Also, the veneers may chip or crack and subsequently need replacement.
Bleaching is still the most cost-effective and least invasive of the methods available for teeth whitening.
Ceramic veneers/crowns are more colour-stable but are more costly and future upkeep and replacement also carry biological costs.