What Does ‘Whitening’ Mean?
The English language can be funny.
Take the word crane. Did you think of a bird or a large piece of equipment used on construction sites?
Does the word point make you think of sports (scoring points), something with a tip (like a sharpened pencil), or arguments (making a point)?
And what about the word “whitening?” What does it mean to you?
More importantly, does it mean the same thing to you as it means to the people who designed the box for the “whitening” product you are looking at in the toothpaste aisle?
If you aren’t sure, Hubbard & Leath Dental would like to help. Professional teeth whitening is one of our most popular cosmetic services, and we want to explain how it is different than the commercial whitening products you will see the next time you go to the grocery store.
Teeth whitening started becoming more popular a few years ago. That resulted in an exponential growth in the number of “whitening” products on the market.
Several people noticed this — the public, marketing firms, dentists, and the American Dental Association Council on Scientific Affairs.
The ADA Council learned a few things as they researched whitening products, and they issued a statement in a few years ago about what they found.
Here’s what you should know.
Whitening is used in two different ways to promote products.
Under the first definition, any product that removes surface stains is a whitening product. This explains why there are so many kinds of “whitening” toothpaste on the shelves. From this standpoint, pretty much all toothpaste could be considered a whitening product.
They may slow the progress of new stains on your teeth, but they are not going to remove the stains that have taken years or even decades to develop.
The second kind of whitening product is intended to remove those deep stains.
This product usually contains some kind of peroxide-based bleaching agent. This may be hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide (which actually breaks down into hydrogen peroxide).
When people come to our office for teeth whitening, they are asking us to remove the deep stains that have become set on their teeth.
Sometimes they want this because they have a special event coming up (such as a wedding or a reunion) or because they have become self-conscious about the color of their teeth. In either case, we are happy to help. Many times these patients tried commercial whitening products, but they were not happy with the results.
There’s a good reason for that. Commercial products are not nearly as potent as professional ones.
The ADA Council found that commercial products with the ADA Seal of Acceptance may contain up to 10 percent carbamide peroxide, which is the equivalent of 3.5 percent hydrogen peroxide.
Professional whitening products can contain 25 percent hydrogen peroxide. This also explains why professional products are available through the dentist office instead of at retail stores.
A Word Of Caution
The ADA Council advised anyone who is considering teeth whitening to first talk with his or her dentist.
Bleaching is not a good idea for some patients, and an oral examination should be conducted before any whitening treatment begins. Some factors that should be considered include the overall health of the patient’s teeth, whether the patient has fillings or dental crowns, and the severity of the stains.
If teeth whitening is appropriate, it should be done with the knowledge and supervision of your dentist. When used incorrectly or when overused, whitening products can cause damage to your teeth.
If you come to our office for an in-office whitening, we can directly supervise your treatment. We use Zoom whitening products, and you may be amazed at how much whiter your teeth can look in a single visit.
And what if you are not a good candidate for teeth whitening? Don’t lose hope. There is a good chance you may be able to get dental veneers.
These are a kind of shell that can be bonded to the front of your teeth. Once they are attached, your teeth can look as white and bright (not to mention as straight) as you would like them to be.
Talk To Us Before You Begin
Please, schedule a consultation with our dentists before you start teeth whitening or any other form of cosmetic dentistry. If you live in or near Rochester Hills, MI, Hubbard & Leath Dental is just a short drive away.