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How Teeth Whitening Works - Howdini

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How Teeth Whitening Works - Howdini
How Teeth Whitening Works - Howdini
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Ever wonder how teeth whitening products work and whether they are safe? Join cosmetic dentist, Dr. Brian Cantor, as he explains the whitening process and how to maintain your pearly whites!

Hi, I'm Katrina Szish for Howdini. Today we're going to talk about how teeth whitening works. To do that, I'm joined by cosmetic dentist Dr. Brian Kantor. Nice to see you.

Nice to see you.

So everybody wants that glamorous gleaming grin. Now, how white can you actually get your teeth?

It's a very good question. Every patient comes in and say they want their teeth whitened. They want their teeth to be as white as this celebrity.

Well, unfortunately, most of the celebrities that you see on TV, their teeth are very white because they have porcelain veneers. They didn't get that white through bleaching. I tell my patients you have to be realistic about how white your teeth can get from bleaching. It'll definitely get white. You'll definitely look refreshed. I say a good result is if you notice a difference from the bleaching, then it was a good result.

Makes sense. Great advice. Now, how long does professional whitening actually last?
It's very unpredictable. It works great on some people. And unfortunately, bleaching does not work on everybody, but you will get some good results. You will have to maintain that bleach because it's not going to remain white forever.

OK, now, of course, the question everybody wants to know-- how much will this cost? It varies. In-office professional whitening can range anywhere from about $500 up to $1,500. Take-home trays given by dentists also range from about $300 to $600. And then over-the-counter products are much more reasonably priced at around $20 to $100. They do work as well.

OK, now, how can you tell if your teeth are actually just a certain color or if they're stained? How can you tell the difference?

Well, you use your teeth often, and they are porous so they can accumulate stain. So red wine, coffee, chocolate, they all stain the teeth. So we use a surface stain remover, such as a whitening toothpaste, and that will remove the surface stain, and that's the color of your teeth.
OK, now, what is all of this doing to my teeth?

Well, first let's talk about the difference between bleaching and whitening. So whitening is when you make your teeth appear whiter than they are by removing the surface stain, and that's with whitening toothpaste, whitening mouth rinse. A lot of over-the-counter products say they'll whiten the teeth. They do so just by removing surfacing stain.

Bleaching is different. Bleaching has an ingredient called hydrogen peroxide. And bleaching actually puts a hydrogen peroxide material, which is a bleaching agent. And the oxygen from the hydrogen peroxide will oxidize these long-chains stains and breaks these chains up intrinsically, and that actually bleaches the tooth, making the teeth lighter than they actually were.

Wow. Now, is all of that safe? The only side effects it can have is that it can make your teeth temporarily sensitive and it can irritate the gums. But that will go away within a day or two, and there's no negative effects.

That sounds amazing. Is this something I can do for the rest of my life?

Yes. As you age, your teeth are going to stain. They're going to accumulate more stain as you age, so you want to keep your teeth refreshed and white. So yes, you can maintain bleach, and you can bleach throughout the rest of your life.

Fantastic. All great advice. Thank you so much, Dr. Kantor. Much appreciated.

OK, now, I feel like a whitening wizard. How about you? Let's recap.

Whitening your teeth has three steps. Stain removal by a good oral care routine and using products that help whiten your teeth. Stain bleaching for the discoloration that exists below the enamel surface. This can be done by your dentist or with an in-home system. Stain protection by avoiding the food and drink that causes surface stains. Keeping up your routine. And as always, talk to your dentist first on one of your next regular checkups.

On behalf of Crest 3D White, I'm Katrina Szish for Howdini. For more information, check out the website.

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