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The Ins and Outs of Teeth Whitening

November 30, 2018

Holidays are just around the corner and many of us will be smiling ear to ear at family gatherings and parties with friends. Has whiting your teeth ever crossed your mind? Is a glamorous smile worthy of a Hollywood star on your holiday list? Having brighter pearly whites is life changing, it affects how one interacts with others and boosts confidence. Whiter teeth can take years off your appearance and serve as an indicator of good overall health.

Good oral hygiene, including brushing with an electric toothbrush twice a day and daily flossing will go a long way to maintain your pearly whites. However, there are certain habits that can tarnish your whiter-than-white grin over time, adding unfavorable yellow and brown hues to your smile. The greatest offenders are coffee, tea, red wine and smoking. There are many products on the market that claim to reverse the damage, making for a multibillion dollar industry. There are tooth whitening products to suit every possible taste and budget. However, be aware that some teeth whitening products may promise you the world while delivering very little. Being an educated consumer is helpful before making any decisions.

Benefits of Teeth Whitening

Tooth whitening is the most economical and time-efficient way to improving your smile and boost your self confidence. It is safe and doesn’t cause any structural change to the teeth as long as it prescribed and administered by a dental professional. This painless procedure can easily enhance and restore the healthy color of your teeth if it is done correctly.

Whitening Reality Bites

While tooth whitening is effective, the result is a natural white shade, but not necessarily the porcelain white many people have in mind. Porcelain Veneers might need to be considered in that case, but starting with whitening is still a good idea.

Keep in mind that your fillings and crowns will not change color with any whitening procedure and that the whitening process may cause a temporary sensitivity.

How Does it Work?

Whitening agents work by a process of oxygenation to penetrate enamel and access the discolored parts in ones teeth.  Most commonly used whitening agents are hydrogen or carbamide peroxide.  They release oxygen molecules which react with discolored molecules in your teeth, thereby lightening the teeth appearance. The process is long lasting with good at home care if it is done correctly.

Whitening Teeth at Home

Let’s just get it out of the way, whitening toothpastes do not work! In fact, over time they might be damaging to your teeth. There is no evidence that whitening toothpastes can whiten teeth. Most work by using heavy abrasives to remove surface staining and over time scratch away enamel, the protective surface of your tooth. Enamel doesn’t grow back and the teeth can be left with incurable sensitivity. We recommend Sensodyne True White toothpaste when paired with regular professional cleanings; it’s efficient at removing stains without being overly abrasive.

At home, few whitening options that work include tray-based whitening that might be over the counter or custom made. The gels come in different concentrations depending on a system. Wearing the trays with gel is done from 15 minutes to overnight and can be very effective. Custom trays are better since they can hold gels of much higher concentration without negatively effective your gums. It is great way to brighten your smile in a matter of weeks. Make sure to consult with your dentist before starting any tray-based whitening – healthy gums and teeth are must prior to any procedure.

Opalescence Go is a great gel-in-tray product that we have available for our patients. With a 10% Hydrogen Peroxide concentration it is an efficient tooth whitening system that doesn’t require custom trays. It also makes a great holiday gift for yourself or others!

In-Office Teeth Whitening

This kind of whitening uses super high concentrations that penetrate and whiten teeth within 60 minutes. So, if you don’t see yourself committing to wearing trays and want faster results, this might be a better option for you.  Darker stains might also be better addressed by in-office procedures.  Your dentist can also advise combination techniques to achieve a better overall result.

All these techniques are great in uncovering your smile’s true potential. Keep on smiling and let us know how we can help with any of your teeth whitening questions.

Happy Holidays from all of us at Artful Smiles!

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