Getting one’s teeth whitened is not a sign of vanity. Knowing that their teeth are not off-colored can improve their self-confidence tremendously – and also impact other areas of their life, including work. This can be quite a worthwhile investment.
For those who are patient and want to see a gradual change of tooth color, there are teeth-whitening toothpastes and mouthwashes. The reason that these two take longer to achieve the results is two-fold: First – the toothpaste and mouthwash are not on the teeth for very long. When one brushes their teeth, they do it for two minutes and then when they use the mouthwash, that’s another minute. That’s not much time for the hydrogen peroxide, which is in a low concentration, to be able to stay on the teeth and go to work. Gradually, over time, especially with twice-daily brushings and rinsing, it happens, but again, this option is for people who are okay with waiting for their white teeth.
Another at-home option that can get results within a faster time frame is whitening strips. People can get them over the counter at their local pharmacy. These are often made by the same companies as those who make the aforementioned toothpastes and mouthwashes. These are simple to use – people put the strips over their teeth and wait for a set amount of time. There is a higher concentration of peroxide in the strips, so the results should be more noticeable in a shorter span of time.
The first in-office option is having a gel applied to the teeth right there. It can also involve a special spectrum of light. The results are immediate.
The second in-office option is for the dentist will set up mouthguards, or trays, filled with gel. When it comes to the trays, The patient wears the trays for a certain amount of time. It’s also up to the person using them to decide when to stop. If they achieve a level of whiteness that they like and there are some trays left over, then they can discard them.
Both options have the higher concentration of hydrogen peroxide. The gel had more since it’s supposed to get instant results but the amount in the trays is also higher compared to the whitening strips.
Possible Side Effects
Teeth can only reach a certain level of whiteness, so a situation like what happened on the TV show “Friends” where the character Ross Geller left the whitening strips in too long is relegated to where it belongs – fiction. That is not a side effect to worry about.
The main side effect is mostly a slight increase in tooth sensitivity. This should stop after a short time but if it remains then it’s advisable to discontinue usage and find an alternative. Another thing to look out for is gum sensitivity. Again, if it persists, don’t use it anymore.
First, there are a few myths and doubts to dispel:
- Teeth whitening does not damage the enamel of the tooth – provided that one either follows the instructions with the at-home ones or has a dentist apply the gel. Going off-book opens the door to possible damage.
- Once the teeth have become white, it’s permanent. No. One has to watch what they eat or drink and continue to maintain a strong toothbrushing routine. The results tend to last for about three years.
It’s ultimately up to each individual what kind of whitening treatment they want – though they should consult with a dentist first.
Dr. Shaista Najmi and her staff at Ivory Dental Jacksonville are experts at bringing out the best shades of white, quickly. People who are interested can call the office at 904-998-1555.