WHITENING TOOTHPASTES: DO THEY REALLY WORK?
You may have been using a particular brand of toothpastes with “whitening power” and wondered, “Does this stuff really work?”. Whitening toothpastes contain chemicals or polishing agents that can remove stains from the teeth. (That said, all toothpastes have mild abrasives that help remove surface stains.) If the teeth are darker than they used to be because of surface stains, whitening toothpastes can brighten a teen’s smile.
On the other hand, if the teeth are darker because of deeper stains, perhaps from an injury or certain medications, whitening toothpastes will not give the teen effective results. Unlike bleaching, these toothpastes do not change the color of the teeth to a whiter, brighter shade. If a teen is interesting in choosing this route, he must be sure to choose a brand that contains fluoride. Teens are still very susceptible to tooth decay.
BLEACHING: GREAT CHOICES TO BRIGHTEN YOUR SMILE
Bleaching will brighten the color of teeth that are discolored, stained, or have been darkened as a result of injury. It changes the color of the child or teen’s teeth without removing any tooth structure. One treatment choice is in-office bleaching. A concentrated bleaching agent is applied to his teeth and then activated with heat or light. The visits take about an hour, and usually one to four visits are needed. The pediatric dentist can lighten as few or as many teeth as needed.
AT HOME BLEACHING
One method is a bleaching kit that the child or teen can receive from the pediatric dentist and use at home. In the first visit, the pediatric dentist takes a model of the child’s teeth. In the second visit, the child picks up the custom-made bleaching tray and the bleaching gel. He wears the tray, filled with the bleaching gel, usually at night for several nights. This approach is best for older children and teens whose front permanent teeth are fully erupted. Whichever approach you choose, bleaching is fairly comfortable, and the side effects are few. Some patients find their teeth are more sensitive to hot and cold foods, but the sensitivity disappears after a few days. A toothpaste for sensitive teeth may help.
MICROABRASION: GOOD FIRST CHOICE FOR TOOTH STAINS OR SPOTS
Microabrasion is an excellent option for children or teens who want to change the color of certain areas or spots on the teeth, rather than lighten the color of the whole tooth. The pediatric dentist removes microscopic bits of discolored tooth enamel with an abrasive and a mild acid. Treatment usually can be completed in one visit. Microabrasion is a conservative treatment, removing little tooth structure.
Will microabrasion remove a spot or stain completely? It is difficult to predict. Success depends upon a number of factors, especially the type and extent of discoloration. Surprisingly, brown or dark stains are removed more readily than white ones. Microabrasion works better on surface discoloration than it does on deeper stains caused by injury or certain medications.
ADA (American Dental Association) Seal Products (find more products – click here)
Crest 3D White Whitestrips (Glamorous White)
Procter & Gamble Co.
ADA Seal Statement
“The ADA Council on Scientific Affairs Acceptance of Crest 3D White Whitestrips (Glamorous White) is based on its finding that the product is safe and has shown efficacy in whitening natural teeth when used according to the manufacturer’s instructions.”