Ask the Dentistry Expert – Dr. Baba
Bleaching teeth is one of my favorite procedures in the dental practice. White teeth are perceived as healthier, younger and more attractive. I love that it is relatively cheap compared to most dental procedures, yet has such a dramatic effect.
Almost all tooth whitening products or procedures use the same basic ingredient – hydrogen peroxide. The hydrogen peroxide (often seen on ingredients lists labelled as carbamide peroxide) breaks through and dissolves the organic stains that have penetrated the porous crystal over time.
Products such as, Crest White Strips are very effective; however dental office whitening products are more effective due to the stronger peroxide solution. Because we create a whitening tray that custom fits around your teeth, we can achieve a more effective whitening result. The trays are a take home product that can be reused for continued bleaching. If you choose to whiten your teeth in one shot, directly in office, you can achieve an immediate result.
Overdone, teeth whitening can result in damage to the enamel, burns to the gums, uneven whitening (because of crowns or fillings), or that blinding white effect otherwise known as the “Ross Effect” from the sitcom “Friends”. However, these whitening issues are exceedingly rare. Rather, the most common problem I find is tooth sensitivity following bleaching. As an experiment, I attempted to whiten my teeth in a hurry, bleaching my teeth three times in one day. Not a good idea! My teeth were so sensitive that I didn’t want to breathe through my mouth, because the cold air hurt my teeth. This sensitivity is only temporary and can be reduced with Advil, Tylenol, Sensodyne tooth paste or a desensitizer applied by your dentist. The moral of the story is, be patient with whitening your teeth and the results with be worth it!