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Reasons you Should Avoid Teeth Whitening at Home

Posted on 10/13/2015 by Dr. Andrew Zeiger

A before and after picture of a client's teeth being whitened.If you go to the local drugstore and look at the tooth whitening products, you are likely to get overwhelmed - there are so many choices! This must mean that you can whiten your teeth at home and have successful results, right? Unfortunately, you cannot. Yes, there are a slight few people that will have the desired success, but these people are few and far between. Most people do not get the desired results, which means they just threw that time and money that was invested in the tooth whitening products out the window.

Extrinsic Stains
Typically, the only stains that are successfully whitened with over-the-counter products are extrinsic stains. These are the stains that are strictly on the exterior of your teeth. These stains are superficial and occur as a result of your food and drink habits. The most offending food/drinks include coffee, tea, and soda, berries, and tomatoes. If you smoke, you could also have extrinsic stains from the tobacco. These stains, if they are minor, might benefit from an OTC tooth whitening product, but there are no promises.

Intrinsic Stains
Intrinsic stains are the more common culprit in tooth stains. These stains are on the interior of your tooth and cannot be scrubbed away with a toothbrush or whitened with an over-the-counter product. Intrinsic stains occur for a variety of reasons including trauma, certain medications, excessive fluoride consumption, and certain dental health conditions.

Whitening Teeth

The problem with trying to whiten teeth on your own is that you do not know the type of stains you have or the state of your oral health. If you are trying to eliminate intrinsic stains, no amount of whitening will work. Even if you are dealing with extrinsic stains, if your teeth and gums are not healthy, the attempts will be unsuccessful. If you come into the office for professional whitening, on the other hand, we can evaluate the health of your mouth and make the appropriate suggestions.

In many cases, we can perform professional teeth whitening, providing you greater results than you could at home. The process is very simple and takes less than one hour to complete. It is non-invasive and there is no recovery time; you could have it done on your lunch hour and head back to work!

If we are unable to whiten your teeth with tooth whitening products, we also have the option of offering dental veneers. This cosmetic dentistry option does not depend on the types of stains that are occurring as it is essentially another layer of enamel that we place over your existing teeth. Dental veneers are a great option for stains, as well as crooked teeth, large gaps, or slightly misaligned teeth. This permanent option does not require any upkeep with the exception of practicing proper oral hygiene to prevent them from staining as well.

Changing your Oral Habits

The best way to deal with stains is to prevent them from occurring in the first place. If you know that you have bad habits that are staining your teeth, try to change them. If you drink or eat offending foods, try to limit your consumption or at the very least, drinking water immediately following their consumption to decrease the risk of them staining your teeth. Of course, you should also keep up your dental health habits including brushing/flossing twice a day and visiting our office twice a year for a proper exam and dental cleaning.

If you are unhappy with the appearance of your teeth, please call us today to make an appointment! We will get your teeth looking as good as new!

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