Getting the Most out of Tooth Whitening

Dr. Alex Schvartsman

If you’ve already given some thought to teeth whitening, you’re not alone. According to a recent American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry poll, the most common improvement that respondents said they’d like to have is whiter, brighter teeth. Studies show that the smile is the #1 feature men look at in a woman’s face, and people with white straight teeth are perceived as more intelligent and attractive. Your decision to get your teeth whitened should not be taken lightly. Brighten your mind, and your smile with the truth about teeth whitening.

Tooth Whitening Confusion

There seem to be an endless supply of over-the-counter tooth whitening products flooding the market, as well as many dental offices offering a myriad of tooth whitening choices. So which method is right for you?

Over-the-counter products: Non-dentist supervised tooth whitening (store-bought or infomercial bought) can actually harm your teeth. Many of these products contain acid, which “frosts” your teeth making them appear whiter. Since the actual concentration of the peroxide gel is a mystery and most gels sit in a hot warehouse for weeks to months, you never know what you are getting and results are usually disappointing.

Non-professional one-hour whitening: A recent trend is to have your teeth whitened at a mall or on a cruise ship. Generally, a high school kid with about 1 hour of training will whiten your teeth using the one-hour light assisted technique. If you trust your teeth and gums to a quickly trained employee to apply potentially dangerous peroxide gels and hot lights to your mouth, you are either brave or uninformed, so read on!

Dentist supervised professional tooth whitening: Here the choices are just as confusing. Nighttime, daytime, in office, laser whitening, light assisted whitening, 1 hour, half-hour, etc… This is all very confusing, even for most dentists!

The Truth

Here’s how it works: Real tooth whitening is achieved when the whitening gel releases oxygen into the tooth. The oxygen molecules diffuse into the tooth and whiten the inner yellow core of the tooth by breaking up the stain within the dentin. The effectiveness of any tooth whitening system depends on how stained your teeth are and how permeable your teeth are to oxygen. Oxygen absorption into the tooth is improved by repeated exposure to the whitening gel. The oxygen release is a slow process. Tooth whitening is more dependent on how long the gel actually stays on the tooth, not how strong the gel is (the oxygen can only penetrate the tooth so fast)!

A catalyst can make the tooth whitening process more effective, but lasers and lights do not – they are a gimmick! In fact, most dentists use a filtered blue light and call it a “LASER” to make it sound more “high-tech.” In addition, a recent study showed that very high concentration gels that are used with light assisted whitening actually damage enamel, porcelain and white fillings. The truth is, one-hour whitening is the most unpredictable whitening method today because if your teeth do not absorb oxygen well, you will have a very disappointing result that will not last. Dentists who promote laser- or light-assisted whitening are either unaware of these studies and information or are consciously defrauding their patients.

It turns out that the original method of tooth whitening using a custom made silicone tray with low concentration peroxide gel which is worn while you sleep, is the most effective, safest, has the least side effects and is the longest lasting way to whiten your teeth. It also happens to be the least expensive!

At State of the Art Comfort Dentistry, Dr. Shvartsman uses a three-tier approach to whiten teeth. He uses the freshest, most advanced gel on the market and has designed an approach to whiten even the darkest teeth! If you have been told that your teeth can’t be whitened due to antibiotic staining or the darkness of your teeth, that was wrong! Dr. Shvartsman has successfully whitened thousands of peoples’ teeth with great results. Before you drill your teeth down for porcelain veneers or caps to mask your stained teeth and spend thousands of dollars in the process, try a tooth whitening approach that works.