With prom, graduation,wedding season, festive season just around the corner ,the photo opportunities will be numerous, and the resulting pictures will be everlasting. In our selfie – crazed, photo-sharing world, it’s not a surprise that teeth whitening is reported to be the most commonly requested cosmetic dental procedure.
Whitening trends making their way in and out of social media and commercials show us just how easy a variety of over-the-counter products can be. But there are many other options as well. We will briefly outline several options here to help you know what to discuss with your dentists at your next visit. (Please note that over use of any of these products can result in tooth sensitivity, pain, and/or discoloration).
Teeth Whitening at Home
1. Whitening toothpaste – Whitening toothpaste use a variety of techniques to lighten your teeth. Baking soda, abrasives or chemicals are used to polish the teeth and/or give a reflective appearance that removes surface stains from the teeth.
2. Over the counter teeth whitening kits – Teeth whitening kits can include strips, trays and/or brushes that allow you to put a substance on your teeth for a more extended period of time than toothpaste. These kits usually contain peroxide which bleaches your teeth to read stains deeper than surface stains.
3.Natural Remedies – Natural remedies for teeth whitening include everything from eating healthier, jumping on-board a current trend, avoid teeth staining foods and/or sugary or acidic drinks. If you smoke or use tobacco those are your biggest culprits, so give those up for brighter teeth.
Abrasives such as baking soda or charcoal, or rinsing agents like coconut oil can have benefits but they are really simply creating a habit of brushing and rinsing your mouth on a daily basis. The habits of brushing twice a day, flossing and rinsing with mouth wash daily, chewing sugar free gum and seeing your dentists twice a year results in overall good oral care.
Teeth Whitening at the Dentist
There are lots of teeth whitening options available only at a dentist office. Depending on your specific goals and needs, your dentist can recommend the options best for you. Options can include take home kits as well as in-office professional teeth whitening treatments, which can be done over a series of visits, or in one.
Having teeth whitening done professionally means there won’t be gaps in the coverage area (typical of whitening strips), nor will they be over bleached or cause damage to your gums (which can happen with in-home self-treatments).
- Take Home Kits – Many dentists provide take home teeth whitening options. Options may include a ready-made kit or custom made trays with bleach. While some of these resemble the over-the-counter whitening kits, they typically contain a more concentrated level of bleach.
- Zoom Teeth Whitening – This procedure is only available at dental offices and uses a 25% hydrogen peroxide gel in conjunction with a special lamp to whiten your teeth.
- Boost – Another option only available at dental offices, Boost uses a hydrogen peroxide based power bleaching gel for removing stains with no special light required
2. Veneers – Some stains will not respond to the traditional bleaching methods; in these cases, veneers could be an option to beautify your smile
Practical tips to brighten your smile
- Floss daily; use a good toothbrush and brush twice a day to keep your gums healthy and your teeth clean.
- If you smoke, please stop. Smoking can stain teeth and affect your gum health.
- Be aware of your diet, avoid sugary, starchy foods, limit tea, coffee, and red wine as these can stain your teeth and cause cavities.
- Relax, be happy, and let your confidence shine through in your smile.
- Run your tongue over your teeth before smiling to give them a nice lustre.
- When taking photos, top teeth shouldn’t touch the bottom teeth and take pictures from the right angle.
- If you are considering the use of whitening toothpaste or strips, do speak to your dentist first so that they can advise you on how best to use them.
Your smile is an important part of your life and personality, and if you are considering any changes, please seek advice from a trusted, reputable dentist. Dental professionals will work with you to help create a smile that’s perfect for you.