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Whitening: The Pros and Cons

Everyone wants sparkling, white teeth. Unfortunately, coffee, tea, and wine drinking, smoking, and even the natural aging process causes teeth to yellow over time. While some of this can be reversed with regular cleanings, more and more people are turning to teeth whitening to restore their teeths' youthful luster.


Teeth whitening, a procedure that uses hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide as bleaching agents, can be performed in the dental office or at home. But like with everything, there are pros and cons.


Pros

  • Whiter teeth and a boost of self confidence!

Cons

  • The teeth whitening process can cause several side effects.; mainly tooth sensitivity and gum irritation (which will generally dissapear after one-three days).

  • Can be expensive

  • Doesn't work on all types of stains. Whitening agents aren’t effective on veneers, or crowns and likely won’t work for discoloration that is brown, gray or caused by injury or medication.

  • There is a possibility- unproven as of yet- that the whitening process damages the tooths' enamel, actually causing increased yellowing in the future. The enamel is a coating of protection on the tooth- when this is damaged, the tooth is more vulnerable to staining.

Is It Safe?


When the manufacturer’s instructions are followed properly, yes (note: do not eat products containing bleach, no matter who may say it's a good idea!). The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends whitening your teeth only after consulting with a dentist.


The Brass Tacks...

Unless your teeth really ARE brass tacks, and it's negatively impacting how you feel about yourself, there is no need for whitening. While whitening can make a huge diference for some people, for most, regular cleanings and proper hygiene are enough.