Are You Ready to Dazzle!

Dentistry has come a long way from the days when a female patient would ask “How can I make my teeth look whiter?” with the reply being “Wear dark, red lipstick!”

Today, just as many men inquire about teeth bleaching as women, and age does not make a difference. Teenagers ask as soon as their braces come off; seniors on fixed incomes are making brighter smiles a priority. So how can you make your teeth dazzle?

The first thing I look at when asked for whiter teeth is the person’s oral hygiene. Are you keeping your teeth and gums clean and healthy? Superficial stains from tea, coffee, cigarette/cigar, colas, soy sauce and some dark green vegetables are stains that with diligent care can be kept to a minimum. Using an electric toothbrush is far superior to a manual toothbrush, which cannot replicate the rotations and vibrations. Brushing with a small amount of baking soda on your toothbrush, two or three times a week will also cut through many stains. Daily dental flossing keeps the spaces between the teeth clean, as well as stimulates the gum tissue. This has important ramifications: studies are finding links between oral health and cardiac health as well as oral health and adult onset diabetes.  Assuming you are brushing and flossing correctly, I then look at your dental work, primarily in the front of the mouth. Bleaching will not change the color of crowns (caps), bonding or fillings (composite/white or amalgam/silver color. Therefore, after the teeth are whiter from bleaching, previous dental work will need to be redone to match the new color.  In the case where there are no pre-existing conditions to consider, the next thing to look at is the color of the teeth. Teeth that have yellow in them tend to get better results with bleaching than teeth with gray. Another factor to consider is you may experience a temporary sensitivity after bleaching, and more so if you have gingival (gum) recession or abrasion. There are ways your dentist or hygienist can help lessen this effect.

There are three main ways to bleach your teeth: over the counter (OTC) bleaching strips, in office (common brand name – ZOOM) and home bleaching trays. OTC bleaching strips tend to work best for teenagers, although adults may have success with them. The strips are worn twice daily for thirty minutes, generally for two weeks. ZOOM is an in-office procedure which takes ~2 hours. Bleaching trays are made from impressions taken in the dental office of your teeth. The trays are usually worn overnight with a bleaching agent for two weeks or until the desired tooth shade is achieved. The main differences between these three methods are price and time, ZOOM costing the most and OTC bleaching strips, the least. All three methods require maintenance touch-ups with either bleaching trays for 1-2 evenings or wearing the strips for a few days.

Whether you decide to bleach your teeth or not, your smile is something to be taken seriously. Medical studies have shown that endorphins are produced by our brain when we smile and can help relieve physical and emotional stress. There is nothing better than giving or getting a smile so brighten your world and someone else’s….with a smile!

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  1. Great article. Now I know why my mouth hurts so much when I bleach; gum recession…..everything is changing on my body!

  2. Debbie Chutz says:

    Try desensitizing your teeth before bleaching to lesson your discomfort. To do this, wear your bleaching trays filled with regular Sensodyne toothpaste for a minimum of 1-2 weeks or for a few hours every night. After doing this, then try the bleach and it should feel better. You can also try using a lower percentage bleach. Make sure the bleach is only in your trays, not leaking out. You only need a small drop. Hope this helps!

  3. Consumers would do well to consult their dentists before buying and using any teeth bleaching option – that includes natural and homemade techniques for teeth bleaching. It wouldn’t hurt to follow the dental care tips you’ve stated here though. There’s no surer way to having healthy teeth than healthy dental habits!

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