Tags Posts tagged with "Teeth Whitening Gel"

Teeth Whitening Gel

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Is Teeth Whitening Not Making Your Teeth Whiter?
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Commercial teeth whitening products have grown exponentially over the last 20 years.  The market has grown so much that even toothpastes want a piece of the action.

If you’d walked down the toothpaste aisle at Wal-Mart 20 years ago, you’d have noticed that “Tartar Control” were the two big buzzwords.

Nowadays, “Whitening” seems to be the best word to put on a toothpaste tube to make it sell.

Learn why your whitening toothpaste isn’t making your teeth any whiter.

The problem with most teeth whitening systems is that it’s often difficult to tell if your teeth are getting whiter since the change can be very gradual.

An Easy Way to Tell If Your Teeth Are Getting Whiter

Tooth Shade GuideOne of the easiest ways to tell if your teeth whitening system is actually working is to simply ask your dental hygienist to grab a tooth shade guide at your next dental visit.  Your hygienist can let you know what shade your teeth are.

Then you can try an over-the-counter teeth whitening system or get a professional-strength whitening gel from your dentist.

At your next visit, have your dental hygienist check your tooth shade again to see if the method you’ve used to whiten your teeth has actually made your teeth any whiter.

What If My Whitening Gel Came With a Shade Guide?

Some teeth whitening systems do come with a shade guide, but these are usually printed on paper.  The shade guide that your dentist uses actually contains tooth-shaped pieces of plastic that allow light to pass through them, similar to your natural teeth.

This shade guide will generally be able to give you a better idea of what shade your teeth are before you start whitening your teeth.

Do you have any questions or personal experiences about teeth whitening that you’d like to share?  Leave them below in the comments section.  Thanks for reading!

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At Home Teeth Whitening
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A few months ago, one of my patients asked me if the whitening products that you can buy from the store actually whiten your teeth.  She wasn’t too excited about the expensive price that our dental school charges for a custom bleaching tray and professional-strength bleach.

She was looking for a cheaper alternative.  There’s nothing wrong with trying to save money (as long as you don’t get caught up in an online teeth whitening scam), but the question remained: Do at-home teeth whitening products really work?

At Home Teeth Whitening: Does It Work?

At the time, I told her that they do work, but they’re not as effective as getting it done at the dental office because we can use a higher-strength gel than the whitening products that are available over the counter.  I hate answering patients questions when I’m not entirely sure what the answer is, so I decided it would be a good idea to research this question.

Does At-Home Teeth Whitening Really Work?

Crest WhiteStips Advanced Seal Professional EffectsI was able to find a systematic review, which is an academic paper that reviews lots of studies, eliminating the poorly designed studies, and tries to state the best-available evidence on a given topic.

The systematic review that I found from the Cochrane Collaboration states that at home teeth whitening products do whiten your teeth.  However, the effectiveness of the whitening varies based on the strength of the peroxide used in the product.  Here’s their explanation using their academically-appropriate big words:

There is evidence that whitening products work when compared with placebo/no treatment. There are differences in efficacy between the products, mainly due to the levels of active ingredients, hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide. All trials were however short term and the majority of the studies were judged to be at high risk of bias and were either sponsored or conducted by the manufacturers.  There is a need for pragmatic long-term and independent clinical studies that include participants representing diverse populations. There is also a need to evaluate long-term harms.

So, the verdict is in!  At home teeth whitening products do actually work to get your teeth whiter.

Before you whiten your teeth it is a good idea to visit your dentist (here’s six reasons why) and to be familiar with the two main side effects of teeth whitening.

Do At-Home Teeth Whitening Products Work For You?

I’ve only used over the counter teeth whitening products a handful of times.  The paint-on gel worked the best for me, while I never got very good results with teeth whitening strips.

How about you?  Have you ever tried whitening your teeth?  Did you notice a difference?  I’d love to hear what you have to say in the comments section below.  Thanks for reading!

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Teeth Whitening Side Effects
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Did you know that more than half of all people who bleach their teeth end up with sensitive teeth as a result?  It seems like people are willing to go through a lot just to get whiter teeth.  In this article, I’m going to talk about the two main side effects of whitening your teeth: tooth sensitivity and sore gums.

Sensitive Teeth

Teeth Whitening Side EffectsTooth sensitivity is the most common side effect of teeth whitening.  It can range from very mild tooth sensitivity to a sharp, shooting type of pain.  Almost always, the sensitivity goes away within a few weeks and no permanent harm is done to the teeth.  But, in rare cases, irreversible tooth damage can occur according to this page on the American Dental Association’s website.

When I whitened my teeth last year, I ended up with really sensitive teeth and had to stop after a few nights to keep my teeth from driving me crazy!

This study from the American Dental Association found out the following during a study about tooth sensitivity after teeth whitening:

“Fifty-four percent of subjects in both test and controlgroups reported mild sensitivity; 10 percent of test subjectsand 2 percent of control subjects reported moderate sensitivity;4 percent of test subjects and no control subjects reportedsevere sensitivity. Sensitivity decreased with time; by thesecond week, no severe sensitivity was reported, and by thefourth week, no moderate sensitivity was reported.”

How to Stop Sensitive Teeth Caused by Teeth Whitening

There are desensitizing gels available that can be applied to your teeth either before or after whitening your teeth.  These gels contain similar ingredients to those found in toothpastes for those with sensitive teeth.

This study found that using a desensitizing gel before getting your teeth whitened at the dental office actually reduced the amount of tooth sensitivity that a patient experiences.  In the words of the researchers, “The use of a desensitizing gel (5 percent nitratepotassium/2 percent sodium fluoride) before in-office bleachingdid not affect the bleaching efficacy but did reduce tooth sensitivity.”

Your dentist can also give you desensitizing gel if your tooth sensitivity does not seem to be decreasing within a reasonable time after the procedure..

Sore Gums

The second main side effect of teeth whitening is sore gums.  There are a couple of theories as to why you get sore gums with teeth whitening.

Hydrogen peroxide is able to cause chemical burns (much like aspirin) on the inside of your mouth.  One theory suggests that since hydrogen peroxide is present when you whiten your teeth, it can irritate your gums.

Most teeth whitening gels contain carbamide peroxide which ends up breaking down into hydrogen peroxide to whiten the teeth.

Another theory as to why you get sore gums when you whiten your teeth doesn’t have to do with the whitening gel – it is caused by the tray that holds the whitening gel up against your teeth.  The ADA says that “Tissue irritation, in most cases, results from an ill-fitting tray rather than the tooth-bleaching agents.”

How to Stop Sore Gums Caused by Teeth Whitening

If you often have sore gums after you whiten your teeth, you can often solve the problem by getting a tray that fits better.  Dentists can make teeth whitening trays that are custom made to fit your teeth and that hold the gel on your teeth rather than on your gums.  If that doesn’t work, it may be best to take a break from whitening your teeth to keep your gums from hurting.

What to Do If You Develop These Teeth Whitening Side Effects

The dental textbook Sturdevant’s Art and Science of Operative Dentistry states “If either of the two primary side effects occurs (i.e., sensitive teeth or irritated gingiva), the patient should reduce or discontinue treatment immediately and contact the dentist so that the cause of the problem can be determined and the treatment approach modified.  The dentist may prescribe desensitizing agents to help alleviate sensitivity associated with bleaching.”

Conclusion

Although these are the two main side effects, there are other side effects that have been suggested such as:

  • Nausea
  • Sore Throat
  • TMJ disorder due to tray usage
  • Alteration of the normal bacteria leading to taste-bud enlargement
  • Oral infection

If you experience any of these side effects associated with teeth whitening, get in touch with your dentist to get more information on your individual situation.  Sometimes having pearly whites is not worth the discomfort and possible damage to your teeth!

Have you ever had any of these teeth whitening side effects?  What happened?  I’d love to hear your stories, comments, and questions in the comments section below.  Thanks for reading!

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Products with American Dental Association Seal
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Not many people are aware that the American Dental Association keeps an updated list on their website of all of the dental products that have received the ADA Seal of Acceptance.

You can view and print the entire list of ADA Accepted dental products here in PDF format.

When people think of the ADA Seal, the first product category to come to mind is usually toothpastes.  However, the toothpaste category came in second place.  There are more than twice as many mouth rinses than toothpastes that carry the ADA Seal.

Below you can find a list of all the categories and how many products in each category have received the ADA Seal of Acceptance.

The 15  Categories of Dental Products that carry the ADA Seal

ADA Seal of Acceptance1 – Mouth Rinses.  143 different brands of mouthwash qualified for the ADA Seal.

2 – Toothpastes.  65 toothpastes currently carry the ADA Seal.

3 – Fluoride Mouth Rinses.  44 brands of fluoride mouthwashes qualified for the ADA Seal.

4 – Toothbrushes.  34 different toothbrushes received the ADA Seal.

5 – Floss.  30 different brands of floss qualified for the ADA Seal.

Even if you’re using ADA approved floss, you can still make these 10 mistakes when you floss.

6 – Chewing Gum.  5 different brands of chewing gums qualified for the ADA Seal.

7 – Fluoride Gels.  4 brands of fluoride gel qualified for the ADA Seal.

8 – Denture Adhesives.  3 denture adhesives qualified for the ADA Seal.

9 – Water Filters.  2 water filters carry the ADA Seal of Acceptance.  I wondered why a water filter would get the ADA Seal.  It turns out that the PUR water filters reduce levels of contaminants in water while not reducing the level of tooth-protecting fluoride.

10 – Canker Sore Pain Relief Ointments.  2 canker sore pain relief ointments qualified for the ADA Seal.

11 – Plaque Disclosing Mouth Rinses.  Only 1 plaque disclosing mouth rinse, Listerine Agent Cool Blue Tinting Rinse, qualified for the ADA Seal.  Unfortunately, I don’t think it was deserved as Listerine Agent Cool Blue does not disclose plaque; it simply tints all of the teeth blue.

To see what my teeth looked like after rinsing with Listerine Agent Cool Blue, read the article Listerine Agent Cool Blue Doesn’t Disclose Plaque.  If you want to find plaque disclosing solutions that actually show you where the plaque is on your teeth, read the article How Plaque Disclosing Tablets Can Help You Brush Better.

12 – Denture Pain Relief Ointment.  Only 1 denture pain relief ointment, Benzodent Analgesic Denture Ointment, qualified for the ADA Seal.

13 – Emergency Tooth Preservation Products.  Only one product got the ADA Seal in this category, Save-A-Tooth.

To learn more about how to use the Save-A-Tooth System, read the article What to Do When Your Permanent Tooth Gets Knocked Out.

14 – Interdental Cleaners.  Only one brand of interdental cleaners, Stim-U-Dent Plaque Removers, qualified for the ADA Seal.

15 – Dentist-Dispensed Teeth Whitening Gels.  Only 1 brand of teeth whitening gel, Opalescence Whitening Gel 10%, qualified for the ADA Seal of Acceptance.

Does the ADA Seal Mean Everything?

As I stated above, there are many great plaque disclosing tablets/solutions that don’t have the ADA Seal while the one that does only tints your teeth without showing you where the plaque is!

Usually the ADA Seal indicates that a product actually does what it is supposed to do (is effective) and is safe.  You can read more about the ADA Seal in this previous article: The ADA Seal of Acceptance: Everything You Need to Know.

Do you have any questions, comments, or concerns about the ADA Seal or products that have received it?  I’d love to hear what you think in the comments section below.  Thanks for reading!

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Teeth Whitening and Teeth Bleaching
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When our permanent teeth first come into our mouths, they are nice and white.  Not quite as white as our baby teeth were, but they are still a respectable shade of white.

Over time, as we eat different foods our teeth begin to lose their bright white luster.  Eventually our teeth’s enamel, the outermost layer of our teeth, develops little tiny cracks in it.  These cracks make the tooth more susceptible to becoming a more yellow-brown dark shade.

Darker teeth are generally viewed as less attractive than white teeth.  This simple fact often leads many people to try to make their teeth whiter.

The Difference Between Teeth Whitening & Teeth Bleaching

Teeth Whitening or Bleaching?Although the two terms are often used interchangeably, and I confess that I use them interchangeably when explaining the concept of teeth whitening to patients, there is a subtle difference in the way that the FDA defines them that can help you choose the best product for your needs.

Teeth whiteningrefers to whitening teeth back to their natural, white color.  Toothpastes are advertised as teeth whitening because they contain abrasives that remove stain from teeth, but most teeth whitening toothpastes do not contain any chemicals that bleach the teeth.

Teeth bleaching refers to whitening teeth beyond their natural white color so that they appear whiter than normal.  This is usually accomplished through gels or strips that are applied to the teeth at home or in the dental office.

If you were wondering, the young woman pictured above has undergone teeth bleaching, as her teeth are much whiter than natural and in my opinion they are too white!

Conclusion

If a product claims to whiten your teeth, it may only be able to restore your teeth to their original shade of white.  However, if a product claims to bleach your teeth, then it is capable of making your teeth whiter than they originally were when they first came into your mouth.

A product that bleaches the teeth is allowed to use the phrase whitening, but a product that only removes stain from your teeth is notallowed to use the phrase bleaching when referring to their product.

Do you have any questions or comments about teeth whitening or teeth bleaching?  I’d love to read them in the comments section below!  Thanks for reading!

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Teeth Whitening Defective Gel
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Today, I watched a news report about a teeth whitening scam company called White Overnight. The news report was able to uncover some interesting facts about what this company does.

White TeethI have embedded the news report below, at the end of this article. Here’s some of the things that the Channel 2 News special investigative report uncovered:

  • The whitening trays that are included are bulky and do not form to the teeth very well. This type of tray has trouble holding the whitening gel right up to the teeth so the whitening isn’t very effective. Also, it can push the whitening gel onto the gums, which can cause a harmful burn. Finally, the whitening tray didn’t even fit on the new reporter’s back teeth, it was too short
  • The whitening system costs over $100 every two months. For the same results, you could just get a professional whitening from your dentist. This is potentially more safe since all of the whitening materials would be coming from reputable sources.
  • Although the gel claimed to contain 35% carbamide peroxide, a lab tested the gel that White Overnight shipped out and found that it contained only 14% carbamide peroxide. That’s two and a half times less than the advertised amount. This makes the gel weak and the whitening less effective.
  • The news reporter tried out the White Overnight system and even used a shade guide from a cosmetic dentist’s office to benchmark his results. Unlike the promises in the advertisement, he found that his teeth didn’t get much whiter after a week. However, the CEO of White Overnight seemed to think that the reporter’s teeth were pretty white!
  • The CEO’s of this teeth whitening scam company weren’t even trained in the dental field. They are former Los Angeles rockstars. Perhaps customers who want to whiten their teeth would be better served by those who have been trained in the care and maintenance of the oral cavity.
  • Although White Overnight claimed that their teeth whitening gel is approved by the FDA, the FDA groups teeth whitening gels with cosmetics and does not regulate them.

Teeth Whitening Scam Company Investigative Report Video

Here’s the video from Channel 2 News:

What do you think of these teeth whitening scam companies? Share your comments below!