Dental whitening/bleaching procedures have gained a pretty bad reputation over time. It is widely believed that they cause inflammation of the gums, the teeth lose their protective layers (like enamel), the treatment is unpleasant and to all these a steep price adds up.
However, new technologies and teeth whitening products that can be applied at home make the procedure more affordable and safer. Get the facts!
Here are some popular teeth whitening misconceptions that developed over the years, now busted by the professionals:
- “Dental Whitening sensitizes the teeth” – After the treatment, the area may be felt sensitive a short period of time. However, this does not last more than 24-48 hours.
- “Teeth Whitening is recommended as safe for all ages“ – There is a possibility of permanently increasing tooth sensitivity in children by using bleaching products for a long period of time at a young age.
- “Tooth Enamel is negatively affected by whitening agents“. Early whitening products are at the root of this misconception. These compounds used an abrasive material that would scratch off the stain as well as the surface layers of enamel. New techniques focus on dissolving the stains in the tooth rather than acting like a scratch pad to rub it off.
- “Teeth Bleaching should be done long term to get results” – any teeth whitening procedure, if performed by experts, can provide expected results within hours. However, using a teeth bleaching product at home, you may need an extended period of time until the teeth are whitened.
- “Teeth Whitening results are permanent“ – not true. You may need to consult your dentist after several months or years. To maintain the effects of long periods of time, you must properly take care of your teeth. Oral hygiene is essential.
- “Laser teeth whitening procedure is the most effective“ – Laser whitening is more expensive than other treatments. Moreover, there are various procedures that dentists may choose according to the personal medical record of each patient. It is not correct to consider laser teeth whitening as the only effective method for bleaching teeth.
- “Dark/Gray teeth can not be whitened” – Usually the more yellow/dark the teeth are, the more spectacular results are achieved. If your teeth are dark/gray, skip whitening procedures at home and go straight to the dentist office for whitening. However, it is true that people having gray-toned teeth will obtain a less impressive result than the ones with yellow teeth.
- “To maintain teeth whitening results you have to give up coffee and red wine” – It’s enough to drink a glass of water after you eat or drink coffee/wine. The less these substances will stay on your teeth, the less their effect on teeth.
Studies show that most people who choose to whiten teeth by professional treatments don’t need to redo the procedure for the up coming three to five years, even without making major changes in their lifestyle. You can keep teeth whitening results by the consumption of foods such as fresh carrots, celery and lettuce.
Teeth color stability depends on how well and often you clean your teeth, how many foods or beverages that stain you usually drink and whether you smoke or not. In most of these cases you will need to repeat the whitening process pretty soon.
It is important to not wait too long after the teeth have changed their color, or when having a dental problem, as crowns and other dental work can not be bleached and the hue difference will be visible.
Caps, special fillings, crowns, and bonding do not respond to teeth whitening techniques and the adhesive of these procedures may also be affected. As an alternative, patients can have veneers, bonding, or replace their existing work for the best results. Other dental work such as standard fillings or root canals is not affected negatively by whitening techniques, and respond well to the techniques.
Also check out our video about teeth whitening myths with Dr. Brian Keith Canter: