Getting To Know Teeth ‘Whitening’ Products

by Dr. Vareldzis

Have you ever counted all the “whitening” products that you can buy in the toothpaste aisle? It seems like almost every box of toothpaste, along with several mouthrinses and a few other kinds of products claim to be for the purpose of making teeth whiter.

We admit that this is something that many if not most people would like to have. Indeed, teeth whitening may be the most requested cosmetic dental service in the United States.

Fortunately, you can skip the trial-and-error that comes with commercial products and get professional teeth whitening at our dentist office in Medford, OR.

Hillcrest Family Dentistry has helped countless patients who wanted to remove stubborn stains from their teeth, and we would be happy to help you, too.

What Does Whitening Really Mean?

Well, that depends on what kind of product you are talking about.

As teeth whitening, or teeth bleaching as some people call it, has become more popular, more self-proclaimed whitening products have entered the marketplace.

What are these products? And more importantly for you, do they really work?

The American Dental Association wanted to answer those questions, too. So, they had their Council on Scientific Affairs take a closer look at these products.

Here’s what they found, according to a statement they drafted just a few years ago.

First, there are two kinds of whitening products — bleaching products (which use some kind of peroxide) and whitening toothpaste.

Here’s how they are different. Whitening toothpaste basically removes surface stains from your teeth. They are not removing the stains that have taken years and years to develop.

This is why you can close your eyes and pick any toothpaste box, and odds are, you will pick up a “whitening” toothpaste.

If you are interested in teeth whitening, this really isn’t what you want.

You are more likely to be interested in the peroxide products.

Peroxide-Based Whitening

This is where you see the difference between commercial and professional teeth whitening.

The main differences between these are strength and supervision.

With commercial products, there is a limit to the benefit you will receive. To be eligible for the ADA Seal of Acceptance, commercial products can contain no more than 10 percent carbamide peroxide or 3.5 percent hydrogen peroxide.

Can these remove stains? Yes, but they won’t remove as much as professional products, and they will take longer to remove what they do.

Professional products contain significantly higher concentrations of the whitening agent (between 25 and 40 percent, according to the ADA). This is the main reason you should only receive this kind of treatment under the supervision or direction of a dental professional.

It probably won’t surprise you to learn that professional whitening products can remove more stains in less time than commercial products.

Think of your stains as a fire. Would you rather use a garden hose with a nozzle attachment (commercial product) or a fire hose (professional product) to put it out?

Sinsational Smile

The ADA Council on Scientific Affairs also noted in their report that a typical whitening treatment takes about an hour if you go to a dentist office.

That may be the average but not for patients who come to Hillcrest Family Dentistry.

If you are interested in teeth whitening, we use Sinsational Smile. Our in-office treatments can be completed in as little as 20 minutes with this product.

And when you are finished, we can provide you with custom-made whitening trays. This way, you have the tools to do effective and efficient touch-ups to your smile at home in the future.

A Word Of Caution

The ADA Council also issued a word of caution regarding whitening products.

Tooth sensitivity is a common concern after a whitening treatment. In rare instances, some people have suffered irreparable damage from overusing whitening products or leaving them on longer than directed.

Before you begin any teeth whitening treatment — commercial or professional — the ADA recommends talking to your dentist. Before you start teeth whitening, you should have a professional examine your teeth to determine if you are a good candidate for teeth whitening or if another kind of cosmetic dentistry could help you improve the color of your teeth.

For instance, if your tooth discoloration is not the result of staining, then veneers may be a better alternative.

Schedule A Consultation

A consultation with our dentist is a great place to start if you live in or near Medford, OR, and you are interested in teeth whitening or any other cosmetic dental service.

You can call Hillcrest Family Dentistry at 541-930-8036 or make your appointment online.