In recent years, teeth whitening has become a popular technique, and there are many over-the-counter and professional solutions available on the market. Most whitening treatments lift stains from the enamel (or surface of the teeth) caused by diet, smoking, and aging.
Do all whitening products work? Which whitening treatments work the best? Continue reading for the answers to these questions and more.
Hydrogen peroxide is a common ingredient in many tooth whitening products, but store-bought hydrogen peroxide is quite different from a dentist’s. Most hydrogen peroxide bottles found in the medical section of a drugstore are diluted to around three percent. Commercial whitening treatments vary, but some can contain as much as 10 percent.
Researchers suggest that low-concentration hydrogen peroxide treatments applied in shorter time frames can whiten teeth. However, two variables can potentially destroy the surface of the teeth:
- Too high concentrations of hydrogen peroxide
- Keeping hydrogen peroxide on the teeth for too long
Additionally, low-concentration treatments require more treatments to achieve the desired whiteness.
Many products boast teeth whitening powers, but are they too good to be true? Some over-the-counter products may brighten teeth, but the results are not as dramatic (or safe) as a professional whitening treatment.
- DIY remedies: If you’ve ever searched “how to make your teeth whiter at home,” there are plenty of recipes with ingredients such as baking soda or coconut oil. However, we do not suggest mixing up concoctions with household ingredients because they are potentially ineffective or dangerous.
- Whitening toothpaste: These kinds of toothpaste are more appropriate for maintaining a white smile after professional whitening and do not dramatically change the color of the teeth.
- Teeth whitening strips: If you use whitening strips with consistency and precision, your teeth may whiten one or two shades. However, teeth whitening strips can be tricky: (1) overexposure can erode the enamel, (2) if they do not adequately cover the teeth, it can look uneven, (3) if the bleaching agent comes into contact with gums, it can irritate and damage soft tissue.
If you experience superficial stains, dentists can apply an in-office whitening treatment or create customized professional whitening trays:
- In-office treatment: These treatments offer immediate, dramatic enhancement and can lighten teeth up to eight shades.
- Professional whitening trays: If you feel more comfortable whitening teeth at home or want to add on to an in-office treatment, ask your dentist about professional whitening trays. Because they are customized to fit your mouth, you do not have to stress over the bleaching agent leaking and destroying the gums.
Unfortunately, not all types of discoloration can be lifted by whitening treatments. Dental injury, overexposure to fluoride in childhood, and certain medications cause intrinsic staining. Deep, intrinsic stains are more challenging to treat because it affects the tissue underneath the enamel.
As an alternative to whitening treatments, dentists suggest other cosmetic treatments instead to make teeth appear whiter effectively:
- Dental bonding conceals intrinsic stains with an enamel-colored dental compound.
- When adhered to the front of the teeth, veneers hide deep staining and other cosmetic flaws.
- After inner dental tissue is damaged, a dentist must remove it. A dental crown can strengthen and improve the aesthetics of the vacant tooth.
Even though many products and methods claim whiter teeth, the safest, most effective way to whiten teeth is under the supervision of a dentist. Our team helps patients understand their teeth whitening options and other ways to improve the look of their smiles. Call 505-323-7700 or message us online to learn more about teeth whitening in Albuquerque, NM.