Teeth Whitening 101 – Know the Basics

“And I have the sunset and the Tuscan wine and the white teeth of the women in Rome. I am a traveler in Romance.” 
W. Somerset Maugham

SMILE! You’re making a first impression! A “First Impression” study done in 2015 showed that 20.63% of people first notice a person’s smile when meeting for the first time. (Eyes were next at 15.63%) Since your smile is one of the first things that others notice about you it becomes a vital part of that important first impression. Your teeth don’t have to be perfect, perhaps a nod to your individuality, but these days there is no reason why they can’t be white.

FYI - here are some things you should know about teeth whitening:

1. Whitening and cleaning are not the same thing.
Plaque and tartar deposits and superficial stains can be taken care of by your dental hygienist during your regular dental cleaning appointment. If, after your session with your hygienist, your teeth are clean but not white, you may want to consider professional teeth whitening.

"A woman whose smile is open and whose expression is glad has a kind of beauty no matter what she wears."
Anne Roiph

2. Teeth whitening uses chemicals.
Teeth whitening uses a peroxide group of compounds that penetrate the outer layers of the tooth and oxidize the colour producing pigments resulting in whiter teeth. A professional teeth whitening done by your dentist uses stronger compounds than you can buy over the counter at your local pharmacy.

3. Fast or slow is up to you.
If you choose to use home teeth whitening kits it can take multiple applications over several weeks to achieve close to the look you want. Professional is faster, for instance an appointment at Babin Dentistry with the Zoom Advanced Whitening system can result in teeth that are up to 8 shades whiter in just the one treatment and in just over one hour.

“A smile is a curve that sets everything straight.”
Phyllis Diller

4. Teeth Whitening is not permanent.
The effects of teeth whitening can last from one to three years although your teeth will always be lighter that they were before. There are things you can do to hang on to your white smile longer, ask the experienced staff at Babin Dentistry for more information.

5. There is homework after your teeth whitening treatment.
Post tooth bleaching care includes avoiding “staining” food and drink like tea, coffee, wine, soft drinks and for goodness sake STOP SMOKING! Of course you need to brush twice a day and floss once a day yada yada yada. A “whitening touch up” every 6 to 12 months takes the pressure off being “good”.

“A smile is the universal welcome.”
Max Eastman

6. Do it right and avoid side effects.
Your dentist and dental team will work with you and your unique mouth to limit or eliminate the side-effects of teeth whitening. While slight tooth sensitivity or irritated gums might occur, a professional knows what to look for, when you use a kit at home you are on your own.

7. Make sure teeth whitening is right for you, it is not for everybody.
If you are a child or adolescent, pregnant or lactating woman, allergic to peroxides or have cavities, gum disease, exposed roots, incomplete dental work or hypersensitivity you are not a good candidate for teeth whitening. You also need to be careful if you have restorations like bonded fillings, veneers or crowns. Dr. Babin can give you the skinny on teeth whitening for you.

8. Teeth whitening can’t fix everything.
There are some conditions that just don’t respond to teeth whitening. If your enamel or dentin is malformed due to developmental reasons or excessive fluoride intake in childhood, or because of the use of certain antibiotics like tetracycline, then teeth whitening may not work for you. There’s no sense in wasting your hard-earned money, consult with Dr. Babin to see if teeth whitening is right for you.

"We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do."
Mother Teresa