Teeth whitening has taken the world by storm. You see whiter smiles on celebrities in magazines, on postcards and billboards. You would have to walk around with your eyes closed tight to miss all the ultra bright smiles evident in our society and on our high definition televisions.
So what is all the hype with whitening about? For starters, brighter smiles boost confidence. People who feel more confident smile more often. Their inviting smiles and persona encourage other people to smile. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying that smiling is contagious. Give it a try and see if that holds true. I find myself smiling while taking pictures of other people smiling! It’s such a warm feeling.
Teeth whitening restores natural tooth color that may have been changed due to environmental factors. Such factors include staining from dark beverages like coffee and red wine, sauces, smoking, aging, etc. Teeth whitening can be achieved with over-the-counter agents like whitening toothpastes that help scrub surface staining from teeth without the introduction of a bleaching agent. Whitening toothpaste have been shown to brighten teeth by about one shade.
Teeth bleaching whitens beyond the natural tooth color. Bleaching methods use carbamide peroxide. When carbamide peroxide reacts with water it forms hydrogen peroxide. Carbamide peroxide has about 1/3 of the strength of hydrogen peroxide. Most in-office whitening treatments that are accelerated with an LED light are used in combination with hydrogen peroxide. The gel enters the porosity of the tooth enamel and bleaches stain deposits in the layer underneath the enamel known as dentin.
Whether you are using at-home whitening strips, custom whitening trays made by your dentist, or in-office light activated whitening system you will see results. The higher the concentration of the gel the faster the bleaching occurs. However, continuous use of lower concentrated gels will also provide good results. The down-side is lower concentrated gels take longer to achieve the bleaching results of higher concentrated gels. A common side effect to bleaching is tooth sensitivity. The use of a sensitivity toothpaste 2 weeks leading up to and during the bleaching process with provide some relief. Once the tubules are no longer exposed to the bleaching agent the sensitivity will eventually subside.
Here are a few tips to help keep your smile brighter and whiter:
–avoid excessive exposure to coffee, tea, carbonated beverages, dark sauces, tobacco, and red wine
–see your dentist for a professional cleaning at least every 6 months to remove plaque and surface stains
–incorporate apples, celery, and carrots into your diet; these foods increase saliva production and help scrub the teeth clean
Brighter, whiter smiles are enjoyable to look at, but the prettiest smile a person can have is a healthy one. Every patient will not reach the same ultra white shade. People with yellow staining tend to have the best results. Brown staining usually provides some results. Purple and grey staining may be signs of more intrinsic problems and may not see any results at all. As always, consult your dentist before starting any whitening or bleaching regimen and avoid getting gel solutions on your tissue as it may cause chemical burns.
Tip of the Month: Interested in Zoom! Whitening? We provide the safe in-office light activated bleaching service here at Sweet Tooth Dental Loft. Call today to schedule your treatment and leave with a brighter whiter smile!