What is the Best Way to Get My Teeth Whiter?

Just because we are still in some form of lockdown doesn’t mean we don’t care about appearance!  You may cover your smile with a mask when you’re out in public, but in a Zoom meeting, your smile can occupy a big portion of your “square”.  What can you do to brighten your smile?

Over-the-Counter Options

There are countless teeth whitening products available online and in stores today.  It can be difficult to know which ones will “work” for your smile.  Here are the most important things you must understand in order to determine whether a whitening product will actually be effective.

  • True teeth whitening requires a peroxide chemical that maintains contact with your enamel for a minimum of 10 minutes.
  • The higher the concentration of the peroxide chemical in the whitening product, the faster it will work. The lower the concentration of peroxide, the longer it must stay in contact with the teeth to produce results.
  • High concentrations of peroxide can make the teeth sensitive.
  • The ingredients matter, and so does the method of application.
  • “Whitening mouthwash” may contain hydrogen peroxide as an ingredient, but you cannot swish it around your mouth for the necessary length of time for whitening without damaging the soft tissues of your mouth. Peroxides are too harsh for the gums, cheeks, lips and tongue.
  • “Whitening toothpastes” typically contain no whitening chemicals. Instead, they contain abrasive particles that polish away superficial stains on the teeth to produce a whiter appearance.  Basically, they reveal the underlying tooth color.  They don’t change

That being said, there are some over-the-counter products that contain the right ingredients and use a method of application that will keep the whitening chemicals in contact with the enamel for the necessary amount of time.

Crest Whitestrips

The original OTC teeth whitening product was Crest Whitestrips, and they are still available and effective today.  The strips have whitening gel containing peroxide embedded within.  The shape of the strip perfectly covers the average upper and lower teeth that would be visible in a smile.  Whitestrips come in different formulations to be used for different lengths of time.

Out of all of the over-the-counter products available, Crest Whitestrips are consistently the easiest to use and most effective.

Whitening Gel in Generic Mouth Trays

There are other products using the appropriate active ingredient in a gel, which is applied to the teeth in a generic, one-size-fits-all type mouthpiece.  In this case, the method of application may not keep the gel in intimate contact with the teeth.  A tray that is too large would allow the gel to pool in the bottom of the tray due to the force of gravity.  It may also allow gel to collect in areas that do not require whitening (the back of the front teeth or any of the back teeth).  This is not a major concern, simply a waste of the gel product.

You may also suffer gum irritation if the gel oozes out of the tray onto the gums for any length of time.  Again, the peroxide chemicals are harsh and irritating to the soft tissues inside the mouth.

Whitening Pens

The premise of whitening pens is that they paint a thin layer of whitening gel that hardens into a type of coating that will remain on the teeth for several hours in order to whiten the teeth.  Studies show that these products are less effective than strips or gel in trays.  People like them because of their ease of use, and people do not like them because they are relatively ineffective.

Professional Options

Because of the plethora of products available, it can be confusing or even overwhelming to stand in the toothpaste aisle and pick out a teeth whitener to try.  You can always just talk with Dr. Chowning, our dental hygienists or dental assistants about professional teeth whitening options.  Profession products are typically most effective and easiest to use.  Because we know the specific, unique characteristics of your teeth, we can customize any whitening carrier trays to best meet your needs.  This includes shaping the trays to avoid areas of gum recession or sensitive teeth.  It also includes providing detailed application instructions so that you can maximize the effectiveness and lifespan of your whitening product while minimizing any side effects.

More Questions about Teeth Whitening?

Call 940-382-1750 today to schedule a visit with Dr. Chowning or a professional teeth cleaning with our dental hygienists.  Let us know what types of teeth whitening you’ve already tried and what results you experienced.  That will help us determine the best course of action to reaching your goals of a whiter, brighter smile.

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