Teeth Whitening For Older Patients

Beautiful white teeth need not be just for the younger generation….

great smiles for older peopleIf you are a regular watcher of TV, you can’t help but have noticed the number of younger people who have really white teeth.

Whilst teeth are often whiter when we are younger, there is little doubt that many of them will have also had their teeth professionally whitened, adding to the natural whiteness of youthful teeth.

With the rise of social media and sites such as Instagram, the teeth whitening procedure has become really popular amongst younger people. Streatham dentist Payal Patel now looks at whether this treatment is as relevant for older patients of the Confidental Clinic.

Why have whiter teeth at all?

Some might say that the answer to this question is ‘vanity’. This is a little harsh though and although most people do want it for aesthetic reasons, many find that it also makes them feel more confident in themselves. This obviously applies at any age and is not exclusive to younger people. It is also a fact that people now still often have a very active social life well into their forties and fifties, and even sixty and well beyond. For this reason, people will want to look their best when they go out and older people are equally as eligible for this as younger people.

It isn’t just age either. Whereas once upon a time, cosmetic dentistry would be most popular with women, it is now increasingly popular with men of all ages as well.

Who needs it most?

Many people think of discoloured teeth as having been stained on the surface, whether through smoking or teeth staining foods. There is certainly truth in this but there is also another cause which affects older patients specifically.

When we are young, our teeth look whiter not so much because our enamel is cleaner but because the layer below it, called dentin, is also light in colour and shows that way through the translucent enamel of our teeth.

As we grow older, this dentin layer starts to darken in colour. There is nothing that can be done to prevent this and it is a natural part of aging. Healthy tooth enamel may delay it showing through though if the thickness is retained and the enamel not eroded. Eventually though, older teeth will start to look dull and discoloured and when this happens, a teeth whitening procedure is usually effective at helping to restore the colour.

The procedure

The teeth whitening system used at the Confidental Clinic in Streatham is a home based kit which is made specifically for each patient. You will be provided with custom made trays that are designed to cover your own teeth. This is done following scans being taken of your teeth and allows us to provide trays that are not only comfortable but which minimise the risk of any spillage of the whitening agent onto the soft tissues of the mouth.

You will also be given an appropriate whitening solution along with full instructions; for example how to to wear the trays with the whitening solution for a few hours a day. This can be done at a time convenient to you. You should start to notice an improvement in the whiteness of your teeth after a week or so with the full effect being seen at around two weeks, depending on the level of discolouration.

Too white?

A number of older patients have expressed concern that they don’t want to have dazzling white teeth that stand out too much. This is understandable but patients needn’t worry. We will discuss the level of whiteness required when you have your initial consultation and the treatment can then be adjusted to meet your needs.

If you do find that your teeth are becoming whiter than expected, you can simply stop using the trays and the level of whiteness will stabilise.

The treatment can be repeated as often as needed and this ‘at home’ method also means that you won’t have to have a new set of trays each time which will help in reducing the cost. The only exception to this is if you have left a long time between whitening procedures or have undergone dental surgery in the meantime. In both cases your teeth may have changed and the trays may not fit as well as they used to. In this situation we recommend that you have your mouth reassessed and possibly have new trays made. Your dentist will advise.

Whatever age you are, everybody can benefit from having a nicer looking smile. Whether you are a young adult or an older person, dull looking teeth do not have to be inevitable. If you would like to find out more about how we can whiten your teeth, please call our Streatham dental practice on 020 8674 2052.