When you’re a youngster in school you hope summer, winter, or spring vacations never end; when you’re a grown-up fending for yourself in the gig economy – whether you’re in construction, IT, or an actor, writer, musician, or any other profession where you go from job to job – you probably want breaks to end immediately! Regardless, when it’s time for school or work to start up again, you want the whitest smile possible and the confidence that comes with it. Fortunately, that kind of smile is within reach before your next school year or job – but be careful.
Teeth whitening treatments come in several forms but getting rid of stains and lightening the shade of teeth is a more delicate task than you may think. Here at Elegant Dentistry in Marina del Rey, we have improved the smiles of countless patients but we’ve also heard from them and others in our field about all of the things that go wrong.
What the Watch Out For
While whitening your teeth might seem a fairly simple matter since it’s only about the appearance of teeth, it’s not so simple because teeth are vulnerable to erosion from a wide variety of substances that may be used in whitening treatments. Don’t get us wrong. Some of these ingredients can help to achieve superb outcomes but only if used properly. Watch out for these substances in whitening techniques that might be promoted as “a weird trick dentists hate” and so on. In most cases, the people who hate these weird tricks are not only dentists but the patients who have had bad experiences with them.
- Activated Charcoal. This is one of the most popular household “hacks” for teeth whitening but there are serious concerns about its safety as it can seriously wear down tooth enamel, the irreplaceable substance that coats our teeth. Moreover, charcoal’s effectiveness has not yet been proven. It should be avoided.
- Hydrogen Peroxide. This is a key ingredient in legitimate whitening systems but, like any product, how much you use and how it is applied make all the difference. If you decide to use a DIY approach, please use great caution and talk to your dentist first. It’s crucial to use the right amount with the proper dilution. An overly strong peroxide solution can seriously damage your teeth.
- Baking Soda. Some people swear by this standard household ingredient but be careful. It’s milder than peroxide but it still should only be used once or twice a week and should never be considered a substitute for fluoride toothpaste. There’s likely nothing wrong with using baking soda toothpaste with fluoride every day, however. On the other hand, the whitening effects will not be dramatic and may not even be noticeable. Be extremely careful about combining it with other products. (See below.)
- Lemon Juice. While citric acid, aka vitamin C, is essential for good health, it should not be allowed to linger on teeth, especially in its pure form. It can be especially harmful when combined with baking soda; the two products together can seriously damage enamel. Generally speaking, lemons and lemon juice should not be in contact with teeth over a sustained period. In addition, people who suck on lemons habitually for their health properties can develop serious oral health issues. If you’re not sure how much lemon is too much, contact your dentist.
- Vinegar.This may be the most commonly promoted product that can make you hate “weird tricks”! Like lemon juice, vinegar is healthy and a no-calorie ingredient in many of our favorite recipes but, once again, it is too abrasive for extended contact with your teeth; whatever whitening benefits it has are offset by the threat of serious tooth erosion. Mother Nature only gave you one set of adult teeth and one coating of enamel per tooth. Don’t mess with it!
The Right Way to Whiten Teeth
For the best outcomes and the greatest level of safety, there is no substitute for having a reputable dentist handle your teeth whitening treatment. It is also the fastest and most convenient way to whiten your teeth.
At Elegant Dentistry, most patients opt for one of two forms of treatment employing hydrogen peroxide.
- Customized whitening trays start with molds we make of the patient’s mouth and are usually ready within a few business days. Along with the trays, we provide a whitening gel powered by hydrogen peroxide and detailed instructions.
- In-office procedures are more involved. Consisting of two separate treatments that take roughly 20 minutes each, we start by polishing the teeth with pumice to remove any plaque. Because we use a stronger version of hydrogen peroxide gel for these treatments, we apply a special barrier to protect the gums and other mouth tissue before we apply it. After two treatments, patients should be able to see a dramatic improvement.
Get Started on a Bright Future with Elegant Dentistry
At Elegant Dentistry, our clients come from all walks of life but many work in fields where their appearance may matter a little bit more – not just entertainment but also salespeople and people in jobs with a heavy customer service component. We are located on West Washington Blvd in Marina del Rey adjacent to Culver City, Venice, and Playa del Rey. Our patients come from throughout the West Los Angeles area attracted by our award-winning track record for compassionate, gentle care and outstanding outcomes.
Contact us by using the phone number or email address below or by reaching out to us through our contact page.