Looking to brighten your smile? White teeth are not only associated with youth, attractiveness, and overall health, but studies also show job applicants with white teeth are more likely to get the job than their yellow-toothed counterparts. Brushing and flossing everyday will help keep your teeth free of stains and healthy, but if your smile lacks some sparkle or appears more yellow than before, you’re not alone. In fact, 90% of Americans when asked what they would most like to improve in their smile responded, “Whiter Teeth.”
So, if you are thinking about whitening your teeth, here are some commonly asked questions.
How do Whitening Toothpastes Work?
All whitening agents employ Hydrogen Peroxide as their active ingredient, and, ultimately, the “strength” of a whitening product in bleaching teeth comes from the content of hydrogen peroxide and the time allowed in contact with the tooth. Whitening toothpaste works to remove surface stains. However, in order to “bubble up” deeply held stains caused by years of coffee, red wine and other strongly pigmented food consumption, whitening agents need a stronger concentration of hydrogen peroxide and more time to penetrate the tooth than a brief 2-minute brushing allows. So, if you are trying to brighten up your teeth after a meal, reach for the whitening toothpaste. However, is you are looking to reverse years of yellow stain build up, you will want a stronger whitening product.
What of Over-the-Counter Whitening Products?
Whitening strips or gels employ a stronger content of Hydrogen Peroxide and are recommended to be left on the tooth for 5 to 60 minutes at a time. When used as recommended, these products penetrate deep stains in the enamel of the tooth and over multiple uses can cause noticeable difference in the whiteness of the tooth. If used with whitening toothpaste beforehand, smiles can combat old stains and surface stains before they sink in. Most people prefer strips because they stay on the tooth easier, but with the same active ingredient and concentration, either method will produce similar results.
Professional Whitening Products
Your dentist can offer stronger whitening gels than can be bought over the counter, and can even create custom whitening trays (that look a lot like an Invisalign product) in order to keep the gel in place and match the stability of whitening strips. These gels contain the highest concentrations of hydrogen peroxide and are often refrigerated for best results. Professional whitening products produce faster results, although their over-the-counter counterparts could theoretically produce the same results over a longer period of usage. Dentists can supply multiple strengths of whitening agents in order to satisfy the needs and timeframe of their patients, but typically lower concentrations of hydrogen peroxide are preferred as to avoid the nerve sensitivity that teeth whitening can typically produce as a side-effect. For faster results, however, the strongest gels can bleach teeth up to 5 shades whiter in just a week of use.
Laser Teeth Whitening
Laser teeth whitening is perhaps the most potent method of all, and the most expensive. Laser teeth whitening can be a great solution for the groom getting married tomorrow, the Miss Universe contestant about to compete, or the Extreme Makeover participant ready to reveal. However, most people can experience the same results at a lower cost to them using at-home solutions prescribed by their dentists.
At Platinum Dental, we understand the importance of a bright smile in making a good first impression and offer free whitening to all our patients as a service when requested at a regular appointment or cleaning. Whichever whitening solution best fits your needs, budget, and desired timeframe, our staff will help you achieve the whitest smile you’ve ever had at the lowest cost to you.