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Teeth Whitening Resources
Teeth whitening has become a red-hot dental trend
Procedure can be done with at-home treatments or professionally by a dentist.
Remember when a pearly tint epitomized a knockout smile?

That was then.

More and more, the paper-white glow of artificially lightened teeth is becoming the new standard for one of America's most-noticed physical attributes.

A 2004 survey conducted by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry found that virtually all Americans consider a smile an important social asset, and 96 percent of adults surveyed said an attractive smile makes a person more appealing to the opposite sex. With so much emphasis on teeth, it's not hard to believe the number of people who whitened theirs between 1996 and 2000 jumped 300 percent, according to an AACD survey. "Teeth whitening is far and away the most requested and performed cosmetic dental procedure," said Eric Nelson, director of public relations for the Wisconsin-based AACD. Nelson said new data suggests the trend may be leveling off, but the convenience and affordability of various whitening procedures often persuades those considering an oral overhaul. Buzbee Dental Clinic in Springfield performs roughly eight in-office whitening procedures per month, but Dr. Tyler Buzbee said that number doesn't show the full range of patients who are brightening their smiles: Many opt for less-expensive, over-the-counter treatments like Crest Whitestrips.

"I always tell patients, 'If you're interested in lightening and you don't want to pay a lot, try the Whitestrips,'" Buzbee said. "See how it works. " Since Whitestrips were introduced in May 2001, more than 20 million people have tried them. Last year, Crest sold 9 million boxes, which retail for about $25 apiece.

Strips worn for 30 minutes twice a day for seven days can whiten teeth for up to six months.

But there are certain disadvantages to the do-it-yourself approach, Buzbee said. The strips aren't as effective as in-office whitening procedures, and patients with misaligned teeth or limited dexterity run the risk of an uneven bleach job.

Dr. Chanin Ropka with the Parkcrest Dental Group in Springfield likened Whitestrips to bleach-coated Band-Aids."If your teeth aren't straight, it's not going to stick in the nooks and crannies," she explained.If strips don't cut it, Buzbee usually points patients to custom-fitted bleaching trays, which cost $400. Patients who go that route relax while a gel-filled biteguard does the work. Most dental clinics also offer take-home kits that enable patients to bleach their teeth further by wearing the guard for a short period during the day or overnight.Hydrogen peroxide is the active ingredient in both over-the-counter and in-office whitening treatments, but bleach products applied at the dentist's office have higher concentrations of the oxidizing agent. Gum sensitivity is the most common side-effect, but most patients say the discomfort is short-lived.Many dental clinics also offer a light-activated whitening process, which takes more than an hour but can lighten teeth several shades.

Locally, the procedure costs somewhere in the neighborhood of $500, and no, insurance won't pony up.While bleaching typically achieves the desired results, dentists know better than to guarantee the outcome of whitening sessions. "Everyone's teeth are different," Buzbee said. "Some people who have a grayer hue aren't going to get that super-bright white. You can tell right away if they're going to get better results than others." Dentists don't usually recommend whitening treatments for people with tooth-colored fillings, crowns or porcelain veneers. They say those who have managed to escape significant restorative work are the best candidates for whitening.

When it comes to perpetrators known for discoloring smiles, the lineup includes the usual suspects: coffee, tea, cigarettes, chewing tobacco, soda and red wine.But strangely enough, dentists said, patients with mouths full of tainted teeth aren't typically the ones interested in brightening up."To tell the truth, it's usually the people who don't need their teeth bleached that want it," Buzbee said.Buzbee said he often discourages patients from excessively bleaching their teeth and reminds them of the "Friends" episode when Ross left the whitening gel on his teeth a little too long.

"Sometimes — for whatever reason — they think they should look like Ross on 'Friends,'" he said. Ropka said in-office whitening procedures seem to be most popular with women between the ages of 30 and 50 on a quest for that gleaming white smile. "They want it paper-white, and natural teeth are yellow," Ropka said, adding that she sees the best results in baby-boomers."It takes 10, 15 years off some people."


10 things you absolutely must know about teeth whitening Author: Chris Winters
Are you worried about stained or discolored teeth every time you smile? There is some good news. No matter your budget or your busy work schedule, you should be able to find a teeth whitening option that is a fit for you. 1. There is a teeth whitening method out there that will work for you

Are you worried about stained or discolored teeth every time you smile? There is some good news. No matter your budget or your busy work schedule, you should be able to find a teeth whitening option that is a fit for you. From affordable, convenient, whitening strips to expensive dental whitening treatments, there is something out there for everyone. With just a small amount of research you should be able to find a method that fits your budget and lifestyle. Take the time…you will be glad you did.

2. Teeth whitening is worth the trouble

When you are confident that you have nice white teeth it will show through in your smile and make you appear confident and self-assured. Whiter teeth also make you look younger and minimize the appearance of facial wrinkles.A 1998 study by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry found that 85% of adults believe that an unattractive smile makes a person less appealing to the opposite sex. Teeth whitening goes a long way towards making sure that your not one of those people with an unattractive smile.

3. Teeth whitening is safe

The common methods of peroxide-based teeth whitening cannot damage your teeth. Some people may experience temporary side effects such as sensitive teeth or gum irritation. In most cases, gum irritation isn’t even related to the whitening formula, but instead is caused by a tray that doesn’t fit the mouth properly. What’s the bottom line? Professional teeth whitening is perfectly safe. In fact, the American Dental Association even has an official statement recognizing its safety and effectiveness.

4. You can minimize the side effects

As mentioned above, some people experience minor side effects from the tooth whitening process. If you experience tooth sensitivity, simply give it a break for a few days then start the treatments up again. If sensitivity persists, switch to a toothpaste that is made for sensitive teeth. These toothpastes contain ingredients that can help to soothe the nerve endings of your teeth. If the treatment involves a tray, wear it for shorter periods of time. It may take longer this way but you will end up with the same results.

5. You can get dental quality results at home

This may surprise you, but whether you use an at-home teeth whitening kit or go to the dentist you will generally end up with the same results. So why do people pay so much more to have their teeth professionally whitened by a dentist? Mostly because of the dramatic results they can see right away. At-home kits usually take a couple of weeks to get the results of one or two dental visits. The up-side for the kits is that they are much cheaper than a professional whitening done by the dentist.

6. Whitening doesn’t last forever

Generally, a teeth whitening will last for 6 months to a year. Of course this depends on the individual and the method of whitening that was used. For instance, an expensive dental office whitening will last longer than a cheaper method such as whitening strips. Many people feel that wholesale whitening kits with a custom mouth tray are the most cost effective way to keep teeth white because once you have the tray made you can simply purchase more gel at any time.

7. Whitening toothpastes have a misleading name

"Whitening" toothpastes, in most cases, do not contain peroxide which is the active ingredient for effective wholesale teeth whitening. Instead, they use mild abrasives and polishing agents to clean your teeth and help remove surface stains. Extra clean teeth can appear brighter, but whitening toothpastes will rarely whiten your teeth by more than a shade.

8. Watch out for the foods that stain

Heavily pigmented foods such as soy sauce, most varieties of berries, and cherries will stain teeth. Drinks such as coffee, colas and other dark soft drinks, teas and cranberry juice can also cause staining.

You can do a few things to keep these foods from staining your teeth such as brushing your teeth as soon as possible after eating staining foods. Don’t forget to use a straw for drinks that stain. The straw will keep the staining liquid from getting on the front teeth.

9. Brushing your teeth hard and often will not make your teeth whiter

Actually the opposite is true. Brushing too hard or using a hard bristled toothbrush can actually brush away the enamel of your teeth over time. The thinner your enamel gets, the more the second layer of the tooth shows through. Unfortunately the second layer, called the dentin layer, is a yellow or brownish color. Yellow showing through on your teeth is certainly not the desired result. So, if you want to keep your enamel, brush gently and with a soft bristled brush.

10. Watch out for dangerous "natural tooth whiteners"

There is a lot of bad information out there about wholesale teeth whitening. For instance, some people say that brushing your teeth with lemon juice or rubbing lemon peel across your front teeth is a great way to whiten your teeth. It may whiten your teeth, but it is also eats away the calcium in your teeth which weakens the teeth and makes them much more prone to decay. Keep an eye out for these home remedies, most of them will do more harm than good.
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