First, What is tooth whitening and is it safe for my teeth?
A perfect white smile – that is what we all want. White teeth enhance our appearance and make us feel more confident and beautiful. Unfortunately, over time teeth lose their brilliant white color due to staining and discoloration. Staining can be both intrinsic and extrinsic. Most extrinsic staining, on the surface of the tooth enamel, results from tobacco use and the consumption of highly pigmented food and drinks including coffee, tea, and red wine. Intrinsic staining, beneath the enamel surface, may result from enamel thinning with age allowing the yellowish dentin beneath to show through, long-term antibiotic use, fluorosis, or other genetic factors.
Although minimal extrinsic stains may be reduced by manual brushing with a whitening toothpaste, only professional tooth whitening will yield the best results by targeting intrinsic staining as well. Professional tooth whitening has been one of the most popular procedures in cosmetic dentistry, and has been providing patients with the whitest smiles and greatest confidence boost for several decades. Professional whitening, also known as bleaching, involves the application of a hydrogen-peroxide containing gel to the teeth for 22-60 minutes. The treatment may be repeated depending on the degree of discoloration and desired whiteness. The gels may be used with or without a light to enhance the bleaching process, although it can potentially increase the risk of tooth sensitivity. The treatment may be done in the dental office, or in the convenience of your own home with materials provided by the dentist.
Bleaching is a safe whitening method, but does come with side effects such as gum irritation and tooth sensitivity. However, both are temporary and resolve a few hours to a few days after treatment. Decreasing treatment time, decreasing hydrogen peroxide potency within the whitening gel, and avoiding the use of a light to enhance bleaching are a few preventative measures that can be taken to reduce the intensity and occurrence of these side effects. The professional tooth whitening products used in dental offices are safe for your teeth as they have met the American Dental Association (ADA) safety guidelines, and showed no significant effect on the enamel’s mineral content or hardness.
You may encounter other forms of whitening such as over the counter whitening strips and laser whitening treatments. They may or may not be cheaper, and result in a short term whitened appearance or have no effect at all. Very few of these treatments have been deemed effective and are endorsed by the American Dental Association. Look for the ADA Seal of Acceptance on over-the-counter products to ensure you are buying safe whitening materials. However, professional bleaching is the only effective and safe whitening method available that guarantees the best result.
Now that you have learned about professional teeth whitening, give your smile, confidence, and overall appearance a boost! Contact Dr. Delwyn Dick for the most effective and extremely safe teeth bleaching in Coeur d’Alene and Hayden. Ask about our teeth whitening for life program. The result will leave you feeling more confident and beautiful than ever before.
This is the citation for the second article above:
Clifton M.C. (2014) Tooth Whitening: What We Now Know. Journal of Evidence Based Dental Practice. 14:70-76.