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Tooth Whitening & What You Need to Know


Tooth whitening is one of the most common cosmetic procedures performed within the scope of general dentistry in the United States. It's a safe and fairly uncomplicated procedure that can take years off your smile.

Have you considered whitening your teeth? If so, I'm sure you're interested in long-lasting results. 

In my opinion, the carbamide peroxide and hydrogen peroxide formulations available from your dentist are more effective than some of the common OTC products. In addition, your dentist will fabricate custom-fitted molds for precise whitening of your exact dentition.

What you need to know: Your gums can be irritated by the whitening agent. You may also experience increased tooth sensitivity. Both of these conditions are temporary. Sensodyne toothpaste may help shorten the duration of sensitivity. If you purchase OTC products, please follow the instructions. Crest White Strips' instrictions state quite clearly that they are to be worn no longer than 30 minutes at a time.

What about stain?

When the "pores" of your teeth are open following tooth whitening, it is wise to avoid tooth staining foods and beverages for 2-3 days. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Red wine
  • Grape juice
  • Cranberry juice
  • Dark colas
  • Raspberry Crystal Light or other red/purple powder packets designed to add into water bottles
  • Sports beverages with a deep hue
  • Tomato sauce
  • Blueberries
  • Tobacco products

Some mouth rinses also stain the teeth. In my experience, chlorhexidine gluconate (available by prescription only) and Crest Pro Health are the biggest culprits. 

Another thing to keep in mind is to have reasonable expectations. Everyone is different and achieving "Hollywood white" is not always possible. 





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