Are you tired of trying, in vain, to hide your smile when out with friends? Tired of shying away from selfies and other photo ops, because you are too embarrassed to show your deeply stained teeth? If so, you may have already scoured the internet looking for home remedies or over-the-counter products that can give you the kind of dazzling white smile of which you’ve been dreaming. But for many people the answer to deep tooth staining isn’t a product purchased at a store or online; it’s a trip to their dentist’s office for professional teeth whitening.
Why Bleaching Is Popular
Perhaps it started before ABC’s Extreme Makeover, but the show definitely fed into the public’s obsession with youthful beauty. There is nothing wrong with wanting to look young, vibrant, and beautiful. However, when you compromise your health in the name of beauty, your priorities need an adjustment.
As humans age, our porous tooth enamel soaks up stains from foods, beverages, tobacco, and other substances. During youth, teeth are white – pearly white, in fact. To look younger, many people turn to over-the-counter or dentist-administered teeth whitening systems. If you follow the manufacturer’s instructions for using home whitening kits, and if you follow your dentist’s recommendations for whitening treatments, you should enjoy awesome results.
The Problem with Over Bleaching
However, many people become addicted to wanting a brighter, and brighter, and brighter smile. They over-use home whitening and visit multiple dentists for teeth whitening more often than is recommended. The results can be painful.
Over-bleaching your teeth can allow chemicals to wear down the protective layer of enamel on your teeth. Chemicals in bleaching can cause a burning sensation of the gums and other soft oral tissues. In some cases, temporary or permanent, intense tooth sensitivity occurs. The sensitivity ranges from mild to excruciating. Though most sensitivity is caused by temperature or pressure, bleachorexics sometimes complain of sensitivity to sound and air.
Responsible Teeth Whitening
Because of its ease and results, teeth whitening is the most popular cosmetic dental procedure. Dr. Fondriest suggests dentist-administered home whitening kits. At Lake Forest Dental Arts, he prescribes the FDA- and ADA-approved Night White and Day White systems by Discus Dental. Before prescribing treatment, however, Dr. Fondriest will assess your teeth and oral health. Night White and Day White come in varying strengths, so the doctor will evaluate your tooth discoloration prior to recommending treatment. Because of dehydration and resulting tooth sensitivity caused by some in-office bleaching, Dr. Fondriest does not recommend one-visit teeth whitening.
Are Over-the-Counter Products Safe?
While there are many products available over-the-counter, that claim to lighten teeth, many of these are really only designed to create minor lightening, and often only over extended periods of use. Toothpastes and mouthwashes, for instance, spend such little contact with the teeth that most are unable to lighten teeth by more than a few shades, and even this may take months to achieve.
When considering any OTC product, it’s also important to check for a seal of approval from the American Dental Association, to make sure the product is safe for your teeth. You will also need to follow the directions provided, as overuse can lead to enamel erosion. In the case of home remedies, most are actually too abrasive to be safe for teeth, even though they may rely on what seem like safe, natural ingredients.
How Is Professional Whitening Different?
For many patients, especially those hoping to achieve dramatic whitening fast, professional whitening is a great solution. That is because cosmetic dentists are able to provide whitening products that are specifically designed to drastically lighten teeth, both safely and efficiently.
Interested in Cosmetic Dentistry?
Want to smile confidently again? Find out how cosmetic dentistry could help. Call Lake Forest Dental Arts in Lake Forest, IL, today at 847-234-0517 to schedule a cosmetic consultation. Lake Forest Dental Arts serves residents of West Forest Lake, Kennedy, Lake Bluff, Skokie, Junction, and all surrounding communities.