Monday, March 23, 2015

Teeth Whitening Update

            A recent article in the New York Times discussed some of the latest updates and trends in teeth whitening. It can be difficult to differentiate between all of them and what may be most appropriate in you situation. Below we will go into the basics of each one, but it is important to remember to consult your dentist before beginning any type of whitening regimen.

  • Whitening tooth paste: Contains agents that are designed to improve appearance by removing surface stains. Does NOT actually whiten.
  • Whitening Mouth Rinse: Similar to whitening toothpaste
  • Oil Pulling: Alleges to remove ‘toxins’ and whiten teeth. There is not a lot of research behind oil pulling and how it affects your oral health.
    • At this time, this is not something I recommend until more is known and understood
  • White Strips: These have over-the-counter bleaching strength peroxides and they can whiten teeth.
    • I typically recommend trying strips when unsure if you will be sensitive to bleaching
    • Not as potent as dentist prescribed bleach
    • Not custom fitted
  • Custom Fitted Take Home Bleaching Trays: Our most frequently used bleaching system.
    • The trays are made to fit your teeth and minimize the amount of bleach used. This also limits the amount of bleach that may affect the gums.
    • We can adjust the strength of the bleach for optimal results
    • We can adjust frequency and length of treatment based on sensitivity and results
    • Trays can be kept and re-used over many treatments and refills can be purchased
    • In the long run, it typically is the most cost effective and predictable way to bleach.
  • In-Office Bleaching: Very high strength bleach that must be applied in the office
    • Higher frequency of tooth sensitivity
    • Still need to have take home bleaching trays
    • The ‘light’ that was marketed to help with in office whitening (Zoom), has been shown to have no additional effect
    • We no longer offer this here because of too many variables and inconsistencies
  • Mall Kiosk Whitening
    • DON’T DO IT!
    • You need to have a proper dental exam from a dentist to know if you’re a good candidate for teeth bleaching
    • The lights they shine on your teeth don’t do anything to whiten

The bottom line is you should discuss your individual situation with your dentist to help decide the best course of action. Failure to do so could result in larger, more expensive, and more painful problems!

For more information, visit us at

Lee T. Brown, DDS

Brown and Kupper, DDS Inc.

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