Teeth Whiteners & My Bridge

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You can have a bright, white smile, but you need to make sure you are getting it the right way.
You can have a bright, white smile, but you need to make sure you are getting it the right way.

If you have a dental bridge that does not match your teeth, then much of the cosmetic point of the bridge is rendered moot. After all, you got the bridge not only so that you would have the use of missing teeth again, but also so that casual observers would not realize that they were missing in the first place. As a result of this, many people either opt not to whiten their teeth so that their bridges will continue to match, or they have to buy completely new bridges. Fortunately, there are other options.

Function

Most teeth whiteners simply remove the very top of the enamel from your teeth, exposing the clean, white enamel underneath them. This will not work for bridgework, which are not real teeth and cannot have enamel stripped from them. As a result, if you have a bridge and use traditional teeth whiteners you will probably get very "mixed" results.

Effects

Not only do teeth whiteners not affect bridges, but they can actually gunk up your bridgework as well. Many of the strips contain a goo or paste that sits on the teeth and lightens them over a period of days or weeks. Proper brushing will remove remnants from your regular teeth, and most of it dissolves anyway. However, if the strips or their contents get stuck in your bridgework, they may just hang there for some time and can even cause infections.

Considerations

If you are considering having your teeth whitened professionally or at home, make sure that your dentist is aware that you are concerned about your bridge. Depending on the location of your bridge, it may not be particularly obvious that the bridge is darker or a different color from your other teeth. Also, the dentist may have some recommendations for whitening the bridge on its own so that it matches your natural teeth.

Misconceptions

Many people think that once they have a bridge, they are stuck with the way it looks. While replacing a bridge can be expensive, it is not particularly complicated, so it your bridge is causing you real problems with confidence or affecting your job performance, for example, then it may pay off to get a new one that is more closely matched to your teeth. Before you do this, however, make sure that you make any changes to your real teeth that you are planning so that you do not end up in the same boat again.

You can have a bright, white smile, but you need to make sure you are getting it the right way.
You can have a bright, white smile, but you need to make sure you are getting it the right way.

Prevention/Solution

If you really want to lighten your teeth, but are worried that your bridge will not match, you have several easy options. Many people wash their mouths out with hydrogen peroxide, which bleaches natural teeth and bridgework about equally. Others use baking soda and water to scrub both their natural and artificial teeth and experience great results. Before you do any of this, however, check with your dentist to make sure that there is no reason in your personal oral health history that would make you need to avoid these options.

Warning

If you have bridgework, the most important thing to do is take care of it. Never let someone who has not been professionally trained treat your teeth--real or otherwise--in any way. This includes many "kiosk" whiteners who may tell you that their product will whiten all of your teeth but can actually severely damage your mouth as a whole.

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