A picture is worth a thousand words, but a smile says a million.
However, if smiling with dull or stained teeth makes you want to frown instead, teeth whitening can be a solution to reverse that frown.
Teeth whitening was previously only available in a dental office, but is now widely available, in many different forms such as whitening strips, pens, trays and more.
But what works best and where do you start?
We spoke to ADA-certified dentist Dr. Jon Copeland of the Copeland Dental Group in Missouri to answer our questions and find sparkling solutions to stained and dull teeth.
What does teeth whitening really do to my teeth?
We love the end result, but what really happens when you apply peroxide to your teeth to whiten them?
“Bleaching via peroxide, which is an activated oxygen molecule, breaks down surface stains into smaller, less visible particles,” Copeland explained. “By breaking down surface stains, the natural white color of your teeth becomes more visible.”
Peroxide is also a very inconvenient word because it is associated with bleach. While this is great for doing laundry or cleaning your kitchen sink, please keep bleach away from your teeth.
“Peroxide for teeth whitening is either a form of hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide in different concentrations that deliver results at different rates and come in gel form. Household bleach, in liquid form, is a caustic cleaning agent that you should not ingest in any form,” Copeland said.
How often can I whiten my teeth?
You should definitely brush and floss twice a day, but when it comes to a full whitening session, it’s really at the discretion of your dentist and yourself, taking account the sensitivity of your teeth and the desired results.
“Bleaching intervals are somewhat subjective and different levels are needed depending on the amount of stain, the level of whiteness one wishes to achieve and the amount of coloring products they regularly use such as coffee. is generally safe to bleach at home for those seen [by a dentist] routinely. »
Speaking of staining products, coffee and red wine drinkers should take note, as these and other colored beverages can cause staining and should be avoided or at least drunk through a straw. Finally, become a regular with your dentist for cleanings and your smile will thank you.
“Teeth will stay whiter longer by reducing the consumption of foods and beverages that stain such as coffee, tea or red wine. Routine dental visits and cleanings will prevent stains from building up, especially in areas that are hard to reach with a brush or floss,” Copeland said.
When choosing a whitening kit, should I opt for LED lights, strips, or custom trays?
We live in a world of options when it comes to whitening products, from on-the-go whitening pens to strips to crazy looking LED mouth guard contraptions. But what will work best for long-lasting, full-coverage effects?
“Custom trays allow for the most predictable delivery of whitening. They are sculpted onto your teeth so you have the potential to damage the areas you don’t want the peroxide to go less, and have the fastest and most effective results. the most predictable,” Copeland said when asked what the best way to launder was.
LED lights have also been a new craze, but perhaps only in theory, as the science behind light and heat activation may do little more than keep your bands or platters lit longer.
“In my opinion, LED lights don’t improve the whitening process much,” Copeland said. “Light does not activate particles as much as it warms them. So just giving the peroxide a little longer will have the same effect.
Our opinion on the Smile Brilliant whitening system:
After speaking with Dr. Copeland, I decided to give this teeth whitening system a try. Smile Brilliant uses the custom tray method, which seemed to be the best for long-lasting all-over whitening, and was more affordable than professional dentist whitening, breaking down to less than $20 per session.
“There are many products available and ‘one size doesn’t fit all’. Custom aligners are the most specific and predictable way to whiten teeth at home,” Copeland said.
I’m a big fan of the specific and the predictable, so I ordered a kit and started the first step: making the molds. This process was honestly super fun, because you have to mix the play-doh like pasta together, then fill the trays, before pressing the top and then the bottom into your teeth to make impressions. The instructions were very simple and I was impressed with how easy and quick the whole process was.
Fast forward a week and my trays and gel arrived safe and sound in the mail, along with new instructions. The gel is easy to apply in the aligners, and they obviously fit perfectly, as they were perfect impressions of my teeth. The rest was very simple, but I will note that the taste of the gel was actually quite pleasant and didn’t make me gag or salivate too much like I did with Whitestrips.
Be warned, as with any whitening, there may be temporary white spots on your teeth, but these will fade within hours. Also, if you have dental work, implants or other unnatural, non-porous materials in your mouth, these will not whiten. I learned that as the thin sliver of false tooth in my middle space did not lift like the rest of my teeth, so if you are considering whitening your teeth, consider doing it before dental work so that everything matches up.
The moment of truth came after just three whitening sessions, as seen in the before and after below. Since I didn’t have too many spots at the start, I had pretty white chompers left over after these few sessions. The best part? Now that I have the custom aligners and the gel, I can whiten whenever I see spots starting to come back, without having to call the dentist again.
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