The Perfect Shade of White
Have you ever tried to pick out the perfect shade of white for a home improvement project? My wife and I recently decided to repaint our bathroom, and to make things simple, we were just going to paint it white. After about 10 minutes in the sample section at Sherwin Williams, I realized how foolish that thinking was. Seriously, there are like 100 different whites, and I was going cross-eyed in no time flat (or satin or semi-gloss – whatever your preference). To make a long story short, we finally picked the perfect white, and then repainted it a different perfect white about a month later.
This perfect shade of white is also something so many of us try to achieve with our teeth. The market is saturated with products that promise they can whiten your teeth. In fact, just try and buy a brand of toothpaste that doesn’t promise to whiten your teeth. It’s harder to find than you think. So why is our culture so obsessed with whiter teeth? It’s simple: We are very aware of how important a healthy smile is in making a good first impression. Whether you’re a salesman, teacher, job applicant, or if you’re going on a first date, your smile is commonly the first thing someone notices. And often enough, a whiter smile appears straighter and healthier.
With so many different products out there promising results, I wanted to share with you what I would recommend based on my experience. As a dentist, I’m concerned not only about results, but also the healthiest way to get those results. I believe the best whitening methods have the following characteristics:
Cause no irreversible damage to the teeth and gums
Work efficiently with minimal waste
Are predictable in whitening teeth
Right off the bat, this eliminates toothpastes and mouthwashes to me. Both products are not very predictable, and you typically have to use them a long time to see minimal results. But more importantly, you have to look at the long-term health effects of these products for your teeth. Most of them whiten by a chemical additive or an extra abrasive additive, and I have seen many patients over the years who have developed a sensitivity to this chemical additive resulting in gum tissue irritations. The negative to the toothpastes that have the abrasive additive is that it is like sandpaper for your teeth. Sure, it can whiten teeth – but at the cost of sanding enamel away. Enamel is our friend; the more the better.
Over-the-counter white strips, like Crest White Strips, are also common, and I do like these for certain situations. They cause no irreversible damage to your teeth and gums and can often be quite effective and predictable. My only concern with this product is that it’s a one-size-fits-all item. If you don’t fit in the average mold, there can be either a lot of material wasted (not efficient), and/or your gum tissue can be temporarily irritated.
At Lenderman Dental, we have selected 3 different ways our patients can safely whiten and get the perfect white smile they desire:
Custom Whitening Trays: With this option, you can whiten at home just like with the “white strips,” however, you have much less waste and irritation. Also, these trays can be used over and over again for several years.
“Zoom” In-Office Whitening: This option allows you to whiten your teeth with a special LED light under our supervision in about 2 hours with the same results that would take you several days to achieve with the trays. This is perfect for those that need a quick result for an event or just know that they won’t be consistent with the trays. At Lenderman Dental, we also provide our patients with custom trays for touchups later.
Deep Whitening: This process includes both at-home and in-office whitening. We typically reserve this option for patients who have very deep staining, like tetracycline staining. The product we use for these cases has proven to be more successful than anything else I’ve seen. Here’s a good before-and-after example:
Whitening your teeth is one of the safest and most cost-effective ways to enhance your smile. At Lenderman Dental, we would love to help you choose the best way to achieve the results you want. Give us a call today!