.Everyone that comes into this Florida dentist wants a brighter, whiter smile. However, the world of teeth whitening is pretty complicated. From DIY methods that rely on questionable science to understanding the impact of teeth whitening on your chompers, it can be challenging to separate the myths from the truth. Luckily, this dentist in Florida likes to tell our clients about the threats to their teeth before making any rash decisions. Knowing the truth can help you decide whether teeth whitening is worth it, or whether you’re better off without any external whitening products at all. In this article, we’ll explore a few teeth whitening facts that we think you should know to make the right decision.
1. Teeth are Absorbent
When you think about teeth, you don’t consider it to be absorbent, especially since they seem so solid to the touch. These pores are part of the reason your teeth get stained by drinks and food so quickly. When you consume coffee, wine, or are a chronic smoker, your teeth’s pores give these chemicals an easy way to get into and discolor your enamel. Teeth whitening gel does the opposite, by getting into the pores in your teeth and forcing out the chemicals causing the stains. However, using these teeth whitening gels as a DIY solution may have some negative impacts. According to the journal Nature, a BDJ study noticed that the active ingredient in these gels significantly reduced the structural integrity of teeth.
2. Whitening Toothpaste Isn’t a Permanent Solution
While whitening toothpaste claims that it can return your smile to new, the truth may be slightly different. Whitening toothpaste comes with embedded abrasives that scrub away the top layer of your teeth. The problem with this treatment is that stains may leach deeper into your teeth than just the upper layer. Chances are you’ll see a minor improvement in the state of your teeth, but nothing impactfully different. Stains that go deeper into your teeth will need a professional Florida dentist to take a look at them to advise you on the best course of action to return the shine to your smile.
3. Delivery of the Whitening Agent is Key
If you choose to whiten your teeth, you have several options available to you. Each can impact how effective the whitening technique is. Custom-fitted whitening trays are the best delivery method since they can hold the whitening agent in close contact with the teeth for great lengths of time. However, these custom-fitted trays may be expensive, increasing the overall cost of the procedure. Alternative methods use strips to deliver the whitening agent, but these have the drawback of needing to be adjusted and replaced regularly. They can also introduce inconsistencies into the whitening procedure.
4. Laser or UV-Light Whitening Speeds Up the Action
Laser-activated dental bleaching uses a directed laser to increase the effectiveness of the bleaching agent. Typically, these are not DIY methodologies, since the FDA requires a dentist to deliver these bleaching methods. You may have to consult your dentist in Florida to see if he or she offers this procedure. Based on a paper published in the Open Dentistry Journal, using LEDs to direct UV light at bleaching agents resulted in a significant improvement in tooth color. There have been reports of burning from the use of UV lights to aid bleaching, so it’s best to ask a Florida dentist you trust if you intend to pursue this type of treatment.
5. There’s No Overnight Cure for Teeth Stains
Despite companies touting their “revolutionary new formula” for teeth whitening, there isn’t any way a company can offer a solution to whiten your teeth overnight. Scientifically, whitening agents need to penetrate deep into the tooth before they can start acting on the stains. It takes a lot longer than twelve hours (overnight) to get sufficient depth to cause any lasting impact on colors. In the best-case scenario, whitening agents can take up to four (4) days to reach the depth at which they work. Typically, it can be even longer than that. Beware any product that tells you it can whiten your teeth overnight.
6. It’s Normal to Face Sensitivity After Whitening
WebMD mentions that as much as one in every eight individuals in the US may have sensitive teeth. The sensitivity you get post-whitening is expected and natural and is in no way permanent. The increased sensitivity comes from the pores in your teeth being more open, allowing easier egress for the stains discoloring the enamel. Over time, the pores will shrink to their natural level, and your tooth sensitivity will return to normal. This process may take longer for some individuals than others. If, after a week, you’re still feeling sensitivity in your teeth, consult your dentist in Florida immediately.
7. Bedtime is the Best Time for Whitening Application
Right after you whiten your teeth, your pores are most open. This fact means that your teeth are most susceptible to being restained right after you whiten them. If you’ve gone to all that trouble to make your teeth whiter, you don’t want them to get stained again so quickly. Almost any dentist in Florida will recommend that you whiten your teeth right before bed. The bedtime period reduces the chances of inadvertently spoiling the whitening process by consuming something too quickly before the pores have had a chance to close properly. Your teeth get ample time to remineralize and rehydrate before you have to use them again for breakfast.
8. Whitening Doesn’t Make Your Teeth Whiter Than They Naturally Are
There’s an upper limit to the amount of whitening your teeth can have. Stains and discolorations slowly degrade the natural white color of your teeth throughout your life. When you restore the whiteness on your teeth, you don’t actively color your enamel. Instead, you push out the stains and discoloration agents from the tooth through its pores. Your natural teeth whiteness is determined at birth and has a basis in your genetics. You can’t push your teeth’s whiteness past that point using teeth whitening solutions of dental visits.
9. DIY Methods Aren’t As Good as Professional Methods
Many patients believe that using DIY methods for tooth whitening can make their teeth as white as if they visited a Florida dentist. The uncomfortable truth is that many of the DIY home remedies for teeth whitening are not backed up by any science at all. Oil pulling is a commonly referenced DIY home remedy for teeth whitening. But there’s no scientific evidence to support that it works. Activated charcoal and baking soda don’t whiten the teeth as much as it abrades the outer layer. And this can weaken the tooth in the process. Fruit juices can be just as detrimental. They are based on acids to remove the outer layer of tooth enamel, resulting in a weaker tooth.
Ask Your Dentist Before Whitening
While having a bright, white smile is a great benefit to certain professions, most patients don’t need tooth whitening. Their smiles are impressive as is. If you need tooth whitening, your Florida dentist is likely to suggest non-damaging whitening methods. This can help you safely retain your smile. Anderson Dental is dedicated to offering our clients a family dentist that has your needs at heart. Contact us today to book your next appointment. Let’s both keep your teeth in the best shape of its life!