The Quick and Easy Guide to Teeth Whitening

March 12, 2015

It seems like everyone dreams of a brighter, whiter smile, and it’s no wonder why - studies have shown that men and women are attracted to a bright white smile and those pearly whites can even improve your chances of getting hired. In Kelowna, we appreciate a great cup of coffee and an Okanagan red wine, which means that many of our dental patients also have some pretty deep teeth stains. So what is the best way to whiten your teeth, what’s the quickest, and, more importantly, what is the safest?

Whitening Toothpaste

The typical whitening toothpaste contains about 1-1.5% carbamide peroxide. This is a small concentration that does the job fairly well when it comes to surface stains, but it won’t be capable of penetrating the enamel, which is where deep coffee and red wine stains dwell.

If you’re looking to keep your pre-whitened smile bright or if you want a little boost before the Kelowna summer hits, then whitening toothpaste is a good way to go.

Drugstore Tooth Whitening Strips and Gels

The tooth whitening strips and gel systems that you purchase at the drugstore usually contain 6% to 10% carbamide peroxide. This is enough to penetrate the pores in your teeth and lift the deep stains. That said, you need to make sure that you are evenly applying the strip or gel, otherwise you could end up with some residual staining and odd patches. These products may also irritate your gums, you will want to be alert for any signs of soreness and redness.

If you’re going with a drugstore teeth whitening system, you may want to go with the strips. They’re typically a little more stable and are more likely to whiten your teeth evenly.

Dentist Tooth Whitening Tray and Gel

Many dentists offer custom trays that are fitted to your teeth and gels that contain 10% to 15% carbamide peroxide. These systems are on the pricier side, but the trays are molded to your teeth, allowing for a more comfortable fit and even whitening. These are take home systems, so you can whiten your teeth in the comfort of your own home and reuse the trays for future teeth whitening sessions.

Dental Office Teeth Whitening

The most efficient, fastest, and safest way to whiten your teeth is at the dentist clinic. When your dentist whitens your teeth, they are able to use a solution that contains as much as 35% carbamide peroxide. Many patients see a dramatic difference after just one session at our dental clinic in Kelowna! This method is more costly, but if you want to ensure fast results or if your teeth are badly stained, this is by far your best option.

Things To Consider Before You Whiten Your Teeth

You may have noticed that most teeth whitening products and procedures use carbamide peroxide to lift stains. The carbamide peroxide breaks down into hydrogen peroxide and urea to break down the stains on your teeth. This doesn’t mean that you should concoct your own mixtures or ‘swish’ with hydrogen peroxide though! DIY whitening can cause serious irritation to your gums and can wreak havoc on the natural bacteria in your mouth. In short, it’s a bad idea and you likely won’t see any results as the peroxide is typically a 3% solution and is not making proper contact with your teeth anyway.

Some websites advise creating a solution of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda as a homemade whitening toothpaste. Unfortunately, the baking soda can be abrasive to your tooth enamel, causing damage to the surface of your teeth that may make it easier for stains to penetrate in the future. Your best bet is to simply buy a high quality whitening toothpaste that is approved by the American Dental Association (ADA).

Lastly, it is possible to whiten your teeth too much. When you go overboard on the tooth whiteners, you cause the enamel that coats your teeth to become translucent, making teeth book blue or grey. In the end, your teeth won’t be yellow, but they won’t be white either… It’s not a great look.

If you have any questions about whitening your teeth and which method is best for you, you can contact our family’s dental clinic in Kelowna and we would be happy to schedule an appointment for you. You can reach us at 250-764-4454 and find Honce Dental Centre reviews on our Google page.


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