Teeth whitening has become such a huge trend.? It?s actually one of my favorite procedures because beautiful white teeth really play a big role in your overall appearance.? Since I get tons of questions about the different ways you can whiten your teeth, I wanted to give you the scoop!
With social media, I?ve been seen all kinds of products that claim to whiten teeth.? Some of them seem very convincing, and sometimes, big influencers are endorsing these products. So it?s no wonder why they can become tempting to try.? But I want you to know the TRUTH about teeth whitening products and procedures.
So let me break it down for you in some detail.
TRENDY SOCIAL MEDIA PRODUCTS:
First, let?s talk about these trendy social media products.? I don?t want to waste too much time on this one, so let me give you my honest advice to save you time, money and some potential heartache.? Don?t try them.? Most of them don?t work, and products like activated charcoal can actually cause irreversible damage to your teeth and your gums.
TEETH WHITENING KIOSKS IN THE MALL
Teeth whitening kiosks in the mall are a joke. ?I hate to be blunt, but I just can?t sugar coat it. Don?t trust an unlicensed person to try to help you with your dental care.? ?Would you go to the mall and trust someone to give you a facelift? I?d sure hope not! Treat your teeth with the same respect.? Your teeth are part of your body, they help form your facial structure, they help you eat, they are a vital part of your body. . .so do your best to take care of them properly.
You don?t know what is in the products they give you at a stand in the mall, and because these people are not licensed and not properly trained, you are risking some major damage to your gums and your teeth.? It?s just not worth the risk.? You may be trying to save a few bucks getting your teeth whitening at a mall, but I?ve actually seen it cost more because of irreversible damage caused from these procedures.? I?ve had patients have to get root canals and crowns after having these procedures done with unlicensed people, and that ends up being much more expensive and much more detrimental.
How do they get away with it? Well, most of the time, these kiosks make YOU apply all of the materials, so that you are in fact practicing dentistry on yourself.? That way, if there is a problem, they can?t be blamed because technically, you are the one who did the treatment.? Additionally, if there was a problem, they wouldn?t even be able to give you proper instructions on what to do next, because they have no understanding of teeth, and don?t have access to anything that can help you.
OTC WHITENING STRIPS
Here?s the truth about them.?For one, they are not regulated by the FDA.? Whether or not that?s important to you, I thought you should know.
They are cheaper than treatments with your dentist and they can work, but even if they do, they are not very effective.? Here?s why: When you purchase over the counter whitening strips, you are getting something between 1-5% hydrogen peroxide.? You don?t actually know what strength you are getting, and even if you did get 5% in your kit, it?s still a very low strength of bleach.
Additionally, you?re not able to isolate your tissues when you are using the whitening strips, so you are putting your gums at risk to burn.? Another con of this is that your saliva can contaminate the bleach.? A big part of having your teeth whitened has to do with how much exposure your teeth can have to the actual bleach.? So if your saliva is contaminating the bleach you are using, it won?t be very effective.
(for some more details on OTC whitening products, read this blog:?The Truth About OTC Teeth Whitening Products
AT HOME CUSTOM BLEACH TRAYS
The good news? Of all the options we have discussed so far, this is the better choice.? The bleach trays you get from your dental office should be custom made just for you.? Additionally, the strength of the bleach given is usually much stronger than you can purchase over the counter.
For example, in my office, I give a take home bleach that is 14% hydrogen peroxide.? This is MUCH stronger than the 1-5% hydrogen peroxide that you get from OTC whitening strips.? At home bleach trays are more expensive than the whitening strips, however, they are more effective and custom made to fit you.? The other benefit is that if you have darker, deeper stains on your teeth, a better bleaching product to use is carbamide peroxide.?So with at home bleach trays, you have the option to take home a different type of bleach depending on what type of staining you have!? It?s customized TO YOU!
With at home bleach trays there is still a few details you should know. ?You still are risking burning your tissues (although there is far less chance of this), and you can still have contamination of the bleaching product with your saliva, making it less effective.? Additionally, it takes several days/weeks to see results.? This can be slightly annoying because not only do we encourage you to wear the trays daily (which is a whole task on it?s own), but general post op instructions for whitening teeth are no tea, coffee, red wine, or anything staining for 2 days after you stop bleaching.? This means, if you are bleaching for 10 days, you have to stay away from all of those staining foods/drinks for at least 12 days.? And since you?re bleaching daily, your teeth can wind up being sensitive throughout the entire week/weeks that you are bleaching.
IN OFFICE TEETH WHITENING PROCEDURES
This really is the best option.? For one, the treatment in a dental office is usually one hour and you see results right away, which saves you time.? The strength of the bleach that is typically used is a high prescription strength bleach.?In my office, I use a bleach that is 25% hydrogen peroxide (note how much higher this is than even the take home bleach).? The bleach that I use is so strong that it can penetrate though the dentin and can whiten for up to 30 days after the procedure, which is incredible!? (Note: dentin is the underlying tooth structure).?This may sound scary to some of you, but this is actually the safest and most effective way to whiten your teeth.
Additionally, we use a strong material to isolate your gum tissues so you greatly reduce the risk of burning your gums, and we can control your saliva.? Controlling your saliva is a huge step because it will ensure that the bleach that is applied is not contaminated, therefore it can be extremely effective.
An added benefit is that no coffee/tea/redwine/etc rule can be for only 2 days since you aren?t bleaching for days/weeks at a time.? And the sensitivity? Well, the good news is that the sensitivity doesn?t last more than 48 hours.? Whereas when you use the bleach trays/strips, you are applying the bleach daily, so you can expect to be sensitive for the entire length of your treatment whether it be 5 days or 2 weeks.
(to find out how to reduce post op sensitivity for teeth whitening, watch this video)
Also, remember that when you bleach inside your dental office, if there is an issue, your dentist, who is licensed, trained, and thoroughly understands teeth, can actually help you!
It is the most expensive option when it comes to whitening your teeth, but I would look at it as an investment.? Your smile is important, and so are your teeth, so you always want to make sure to do treatments that are as predictable as possible, and with a licensed dentist.
To make your investment last longer, you can bleach in an office, and use trays at home to maintain it! Your dental office will also carry whitening toothpastes and other products for you to use at home that can help with the maintenance of your whitening procedure, and the best part is that these products are safe and effective!
This should have cleared up some of your questions regarding the different ways that you can whiten your teeth.? If you have more questions, feel free to comment below with your question, or hop on over to Instagram and send me a message! Looking forward to chatting with you!