By far, teeth whitening is one of the most cost-effective ways to improve your smile. In fact, the teeth whitening “industry” for over-the-counter products only rakes in over $1.4 billion a year. While we may be inundated with commercials for these over-the-counter products, you may be a little confused as to what the differences are – not only in these products but also the services offered by your dentist. Here are 5 facts about teeth whitening:
- Teeth Whitening is Safe
In general, most teeth whitening products are peroxide-based, and therefore can’t really damage your teeth. You may have heard about side effects such as irritated gums, but that isn’t necessarily due to the the whitening product. Most likely (especially with over the counter products) it is “user error” – not applying the product correctly. If you do have some side effects, the best thing to do is to stop treatment for a few days to give your teeth a break. That should clear up any irritation and you should be good to go after that.
- Teeth Whitening isn’t Permanent
As a general rule, teeth whitening will last approximately 6 months. The caveat to this entirely depends not only on the product used (over-the-counter vs. professional whitening), as well as individual. Part B to this fact is that your teeth have what I would call a “whiteness factor” – there is a certain level of whiteness that a tooth can hold. In addition, you can’t bleach (which is what tooth whitening is) crowns, fillings and other dental work.
- Teeth Whitening is Not a Subsitute for Dental Work
While this may seem odd to include in this list, it is something that needs to be said. If you have an underlying dental problem (e.g., an abscess, cavities that need to be filled, root canals that should have been done a while ago, etc.), don’t try to cover them up with teeth whitening. It’s like painting over rust or a water spot on your ceiling – the problem is still there and all you are doing is ignoring it. Get the underlying problem resolved and then whiten away!
- Be Aware of Foods That Can Stain Your Teeth
Yes, your mother was right. Foods like berries, cherries, soy sauce, tomato sauce and others can stain your teeth. In addition, coffee, tea, sodas, and red wine could be contributing to some of the staining. You can minimize staining by using a straw or even swishing some water in your mouth after you have consumed these stain-producing culprits. The best course of action is to brush as soon as possible.
- In-Office Whitening Treatments are Tailored to Your Needs
Yes, it is true that over-the-counter whitening products may cost less than going to your dentist to get whiter teeth. But those products are made to work on a majority of the population, not you individually. By going to your dentist, he or she can actually customize the procedure to your teeth so that you achieve your best smile as quickly as possible. In fact, ZOOM Whitening, used by many dentists today, can take just an hour to complete.
Are you looking to brighten your smile? Give Dr. Roth a call to set up your appointment today.