As a dentist, I see a number of new patients who express a desire to have a “whiter, more attractive smile” when discussing their smile goals. While healthy gums and avoiding cavities is important, having a beautiful smile is something that most people desire.
In addition to enhancing facial appearance, the “feel good” effects of a flattering smile can be “felt” from the inside. Yet, a beautiful smile is not something many of us were born with. Typically, smiles need some help to look great.
A beautiful smile begins with teeth and gums that are healthy. With this foundation, it is also important that teeth are properly aligned. Straight teeth create a more attractive smile and are easier to keep clean. Having proper bite alignment also prevents many of the problems associated with TMJ (jaw joint) disorders.
Having properly aligned teeth can help you avoid chips, breaks and fractures from teeth that are ‘hitting wrong.’ Too, a correct fit of upper to lower teeth lessens your risks of night-time clenching and grinding; both are terribly destructive to teeth. The forces of grinding teeth during sleep (known as ‘bruxing’) can be so great it can contribute to dental implant failure.
However, when teeth and gum tissues are healthy and the bite is correct, some people are still uneasy about the appearance of their smile. When teeth are discolored – perhaps dulled from the aging process; stained from years of coffee, tea and wine; or from medications taken a a child – it can interfere with one’s confidence in smiling a full, wide, and joyful smile.
Although most dentists offer a safe, effective means for adult patients to whiten teeth, some toothpaste manufacturers provide consumers with a quickie, over-the-counter means to perk up a smile’s shade. While “quick-&-easy” kits seem like safe, inexpensive products, there are a number of cautions that are not always obvious when it comes to these products.
Overuse has always been a concern. And, it tends to occur innocently enough. Keep in mind that an OTC whitening kit does not provide the same degree of whitening systems overseen in a dentist’s office. In order to achieve the degree of whiteness through OTC kits that many people desire, they tend to use it and use it and use it – to the detriment of their teeth and gums.
Common side effects of overuse include tooth sensitivity and irritation of gum tissues. This can be mild or especially intense when a cavity or gums inflammation already exists. For example, if your gums sometimes bleed when you brush, the sensitivity from whitening strips will be more severe. (Remember, this is a symptom of gum disease and will only worsen without treatment).
Overuse can also cause damage to teeth. This is true for frequent use of whitening toothpastes as well as strips. While the American Dental Association (ADA) has deemed most whitening products as safe, this is based on their use according to the manufacturer’s instructions. This means the user adheres to time constraints with the bleaching agent and avoids swallowing it during treatment.
The stance of safety on these products may have the dental community reconsidering, however. Concerning findings ofresearch was recently shared by MarketWatch in the New York Post (https://nypost.com/2019/04/12/whitening-strips-could-be-doing-serious-damage-to-your-teeth/). The article shares new revelations on how these thin little strips can actually harm a tooth’s protein-rich dentin layer.
The research shows how hydrogen peroxide in whitening strips can penetrate the protective outer enamel layer of teeth. The underlying layer, known as the dentin, is made up largely of proteins, including collagen. This layer surrounds the tooth’s pulp, which is the inner chamber that houses a tooth’s nerves and blood vessels. These components in the pulp layer are what intersect teeth to the gums tissues and supporting bone structures.
According to the study and adhering to the manufacturer’s instructions, one group applied whitening strips. Researchers then tracked the level of collagen and other proteins in the dentin of the whitened teeth. These levels were compared to two additional groups: one of unbleached teeth and another with teeth that had been whitened three times.
The findings showed the teeth that had been whitened with strips once had less collagen and other proteins than the unbleached teeth. Additionally, the remaining proteins were compromised. And, for those teeth that had been whitened three times, even smaller amounts of collagen existed.
This reinforces the need to have a dentist oversee the whitening process. One reason we selected the Zoom 2 Whitening System is its ability to provide dramatic results in a process that is safe for teeth. Zoom 2 in-office whitening also has a reputation for being a more comfortable process, minimizing issues for those who have sensitive gums.
And the results? In just one-hour, natural teeth are brighter, whiter, and gleaming. The process is affordable and results are long-lasting. Unlike store bought brands, Zoom 2 does not need to be done over and over to achieve desirable results, nor repeated frequently. When you calculate the investment many people make in these high-priced boxed systems from a drug or grocery store, they are anything but a bargain. Plus, damage to natural teeth can’t be undone.
Rely on a whitening process that is safe, comfortable, and produces rapid results without harming your teeth. Ask about our Zoom 2 Whitening process by calling 586-739-2155 or ask at your next visit.