Pearly white teeth make us look more healthy and youthful, but life brings with it stains — our teeth are constantly being stained by everything from wine and coffee to simple aging. Don’t get us started on the dangers of smoking! It’s no wonder that teeth whitening is currently one of the most popular dental procedures in the country. Since our teeth are so important for our overall appearance and health, we’ve found and debunked the 5 most common myths about teeth whitening.
Myth: You can’t whiten your teeth if you have sensitivity.
Fortunately, there are ways to overcome the potential for discomfort and those with sensitive teeth are not doomed to suffer with discoloration. Discussing your options with your dentist can go a long way with easing your fears and ensuring the best procedure for teeth whitening. Desensitizing gels, rubber guards for the gums, and sometimes simply using a toothpaste for sensitive teeth prior to the procedure can greatly reduce sensitivity.
Myth: Teeth whitening can harm your enamel.
Fact: Your dentist can provide safe, effective teeth whitening. There’s a common misconception that teeth whitening is done through removing the outermost layer of enamel from your teeth, exposing a clean white layer beneath. In reality, the bleach used by the dentist causes the pores of the teeth to open, and allows the cleaning agent (usually peroxide) to get into the inner portion of your teeth, where the stains actually reside. Within a few days of the procedure, the pores will close again.
Myth: The results of teeth whitening are permanent.
Fact: Your teeth are continually stained, so keeping them white requires regular maintenance. While the outcome of professional teeth whitening can last upwards of 2 years, for most people it is a process that requires ongoing care. The procedure is capable of removing old stains, not repelling future ones. Restricting foods and factors that can stain teeth, such as wine, coffee, blueberries, and smoking, along with regular visits to your dentist can to ensure your smile stays whiter longer.
Myth: Anyone can get their teeth whitened.
Fact: Sometimes, whitening isn’t the best choice for everyone. Because teeth naturally darken with age as the enamel thins, the yellow inner layer, referred to as dentin, will show through. For some, this results in yellowish teeth, while others experience grayish teeth. Teeth whitening generally is targeted at reducing the yellow affects, and will not improve grayish teeth.
If you’re worried whitening may not the best option for you, don’t lose hope! A different cosmetic procedure like veneers may be a better choice for you — but only a dentist can help you make that decision. Your dentist can work with you to help you find the best path to your whitest smile!
Myth: All teeth whitening systems are the same.
Fact: Nothing over-the-counter can compare with the professional teeth whitening services your dentist can provide. Whitening toothpastes or gums will invariably advertise the same results as professional teeth whitening, but this simply isn’t the case. Over the counter products can remove the discoloration on the outside of the teeth temporarily, but they are unable to modify the intrinsic staining.
Only a qualified dentist will be able to help you determine if you are a good candidate for teeth whitening based on your specific situation. At Creating Smiles, we offer our patients the latest in teeth whitening technology and services.