Everyone wants to have a bright, attractive smile. Unfortunately, most people’s teeth will naturally darken over time, whether as a result of aging, tobacco use, or drinking too much coffee, tea, or wine. If your pearly whites have lost some of their luster, you may have tried over-the-counter teeth whitening gels, strips, mouthwashes, or toothpastes to improve their color. More often than not, though, these products simply don’t provide the beautiful results you were hoping for. If you really want to achieve a bright smile, you’re better off seeking professional teeth whitening treatment from your dentist. Here’s why.
How Teeth Whitening Works
The active ingredient in all teeth whitening solutions is a peroxide of some kind. Peroxide is effective at whitening teeth because it can easily permeate the enamel, the outermost layer of your teeth, and break down complex stain molecules. When the bleaching solution is removed from the teeth, so are the stains.
Why Professional Teeth Whitening Works Better
The concentration of peroxide in different whitening agents varies. Federal regulations limit the peroxide concentration in over-the-counter solutions. Professional whitening treatments that dentists use, though, are not subject to these regulations. This means that your dentist is able to quickly and effectively remove stains that are more deeply set, creating more dramatic and long-lasting results.
Even with prolonged use, whitening toothpastes and mouthwashes generally have only a minimal effect compared to professional treatment. In fact, whitening toothpastes are more abrasive than normal toothpastes. They can actually wear down your enamel, revealing more of the underlying layer of yellowish dentin. Because this can have the opposite effect of what you wish to accomplish, most dentists recommend against whitening your teeth in this manner.
Is Teeth Whitening Safe?
Store-bought whitening products are notorious for making teeth more sensitive to foods and drinks with extreme temperatures. Since they can also erode enamel, this exposes more of the dentin, which contains microscopic tubules that lead to the tooth’s nerves, increasing sensitivity. Lastly, these products can irritate gum tissue if the solution touches the gums.
Professional teeth whitening, on the other hand, eliminates most of these risks. In-office whitening may briefly cause sensitivity in patients who already have sensitive teeth, but your dentist can apply a special gel to reduce discomfort. They can control the amount of peroxide in take-home solutions, allowing them to tailor your treatment to your sensitivity levels. These products also shouldn’t damage enamel, and the custom-fit trays prevent gum irritation. You should feel completely safe getting your teeth whitened by your dentist.
If you’re tired of not achieving the results you’d like to with over-the-counter products, ask your dentist if professional teeth whitening is right for you.
About the Author
Dr. Dhavalkumar Rana is a dentist in Mesquite, TX who obtained his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from the prestigious New York University. He maintains active memberships in the American Dental Association, the Texas Dental Association, and the Dallas County Dental Association. At his practice, TrueCare Dentistry, he offers fast, safe, and effective teeth whitening with ZOOM! With in-office and take-home treatments available, you may be a candidate for this smile-changing treatment. To find out which option is best for you, contact Dr. Rana’s office at 469-399-7288.