As a cosmetic dentist in Erie, our team at Impressions Dental understands how important a healthy, brilliantly bright smile is to many of our patients. After all, a dazzling set of gleaming teeth are often viewed as the secret behind a winning smile.
One study – conducted by researchers at Leeds and Central Lancashire University – found that when shown 150 different images of men and women, participants selected the images of those with the most evenly spaced and whitest teeth as the most attractive. When delving into the results of their study, researchers concluded that teeth are the human equivalent of a peacock’s tail – a natural sign of health and attractiveness designed to help us select a mate.
If humans are conditioned both consciously and unconsciously to respond positively to a whiter smile, it’s no wonder that teeth whitening has quickly become the most common cosmetic dental treatment performed in the U.S.
People don’t just head to their dentist when wanting to whiten their smile. Over-the-counter whitening products like gels, toothpastes and strips have become incredibly popular. Each year, Americans spend $1.4 billion on over-the-counter whitening products in an effort to achieve the brilliantly bright smile the desire. Overall, the teeth whitening industry is forecasted to become a $7.4 billion industry by 2024.
Because of the sheer volume of choices you have when trying to whiten your teeth, you can easily find yourself making the wrong decision by spending money on products that don’t really work. Even more troubling, you could end up using a product that actually ends up harming your oral health.
Whether visiting your cosmetic dentist in Erie or attempting to lighten your teeth at home, here are a few tips to keep in mind that will allow you to get the most out of your next attempt to whiten your teeth.
See Your Cosmetic Dentist in Erie
To safely start any teeth whitening treatment you need to enjoy good oral health. Teeth whitening products are designed to strip away stains from the surface of enamel. Doing this requires the use of stringent chemicals that can irritate gum tissue and teeth damaged by disease and decay. To ensure that whitening doesn’t do any lasting damage, you need to first undergo an exam from our team at Impressions Dental to determine whether your teeth are healthy enough for treatment.
Prepare to Stay Patient
Certain types of whitening products offer more immediate results while others require staying a little more patient. Whitening toothpastes, for example, have an almost detergent-like effect on the surface of our teeth, and when combined with brushing will remove superficial stains slowly over time. Whitening toothpastes work well for stain removal and use either enzymes or abrasive agents to scrubs stains off of enamel. However, when staining is the result of issues other than from what you eat and drink, a stronger option may be required to achieve the desired results.
Take a Good Look at What You’re Using
Most over-the-counter whitening products have a hydrogen peroxide-base. While the hydrogen peroxide content in at-home whitening products usually ranges between 3 to 10 percent, some brands do contain up to 15 percent hydrogen peroxide. Comparatively, most whitening products used in dental offices contain anywhere between 15 to 38 percent hydrogen peroxide, and should only be administered by a professional.
While safe to use on your teeth at certain levels, hydrogen peroxide can harm your teeth when incorrectly used or when overused. The more potent the product you have selected, the higher the risk becomes to your teeth and gums if not properly used. Always make sure to read the directions on any whitening product and never exceed the maximum recommended use.
Don’t Use Whitening Products More Than Once a Year
Hydrogen peroxide works by stripping stains away from the surface of your teeth, but it can also strip away compounds that give your teeth strength and stability when used too much. As a result, you should only whiten your teeth once a year or as directed by your Erie cosmetic dentist.
Avoid Teeth Staining Foods and Drinks During Treatment
Just as pouring dirt directly on clothing just out of the washing machine makes it difficult to ever clean your clothes, continuing to enjoy items like red and white wine, tomatoes, berries and soy sauce can make your whitening treatments less effective. While no evidence directly links eating and drinking these items to a less successful treatment, your cosmetic dentist in Erie recommends avoiding some of the more stringent stainers until after your treatment is complete.