Is Whitening Right for Me?

In a world ruled by social media, having the perfect white smile seems like a must!

Before reaching for the whitening trays, consider the health of your teeth first.

Here’s how teeth whitening works.

Whitening is a cosmetic procedure that works by removing stain from teeth to make them appear whiter and brighter. Staining can occur for various reasons such as:

  • Tobacco use
  • Foods (tomatoes, soy sauce, etc.)
  • Beverages (coffee, tea, wine, etc.)
  • Age
  • Medications
  • Injury – trauma to teeth can give them a darker appearance

There are two main types of whitening options: At-Home or In-Office

At-Home Whitening Systems:

  • Toothpastes – Over-the-counter solution that uses abrasives like baking soda, or charcoal to remove stain. Some pastes also use low levels of hydrogen peroxide.
  • Strips – Plastic sheets infused with hydrogen peroxide.
  • Gels – There are over-the-counter types which can be placed onto the teeth, as well as dentist supervised gels that can be placed on custom trays. The range of peroxide concentrations differ among both products, the latter being the strongest of the two.

In-Office Whitening Systems:

Light and non-light cured treatments are available for professional use. Both treatments use a form of peroxide containing gel. The gel is placed on the teeth in intervals of time. Light cured treatments tend to yield more immediate results, according to clinical data.

As with any cosmetic procedure, there are potential for side effects, such as tooth sensitivity and soft tissue irritation. The American Dental Hygienists’ Association, ADHA, also warns against frequent use of bleaching treatments,

“Overzealous use of over-the-counter home bleaching products can wear away tooth enamel, especially with solutions that contain acid. Therefore, bleaching is a procedure best done under the care of an oral health care professional.”

Consulting with your dentist before whitening can help you maintain the health of your teeth and gums and prevent further damage from the whitening procedure.

As always, keep smiling!