Over time, your teeth begin to lose their color or may become stained, from what you eat or drink such as wine, tomato sauce, and coffee. Many people believe the only way to get a bright, white smile is through expensive dental visits with professional whitening products. While professional teeth whitening at the dentist can get you optimal whitening results, there are at-home alternatives as well. Below are the best teeth-whitening products available today.
Whitening toothpaste does not bleach the teeth as professional treatment would do but rather removes the discolored surface area using mildly abrasive ingredients. Many whitening kinds of toothpaste contain things such as peroxide, baking soda, activated charcoal, and more.
Using whitening toothpaste is an inexpensive way to achieve a brighter smile as many of the most used brands are $10 or less per tube. It is important to know that the overuse of whitening toothpaste containing peroxide can permanently damage or destroy the natural collagen on your teeth.
An electric toothbrush is much more effective in comparison to a manual toothbrush at removing surface stains from your teeth. Oscillating toothbrushes are often better compared to others but can come with a higher price tag.
Electric toothbrushes range anywhere from $8 all the way to $300 depending on the brand and feature it offers. Many electric toothbrushes ranging from $20-$30 are effective in removing surface stains.
Many whitening strips are clear stips containing a hydrogen peroxide-based gel. In just a few weeks you will notice a significant difference in the color of your teeth. Whitening strips are often sold in sets, one strip for both the bottom and the top teeth.
Whitening strips are relatively inexpensive, especially in comparison to professional whitening treatment, as they are often available starting at approximately $10 and up depending on things like the brand and strength. The strips are designed to be left on for up to 30 minutes, again, depending on the brand.
Teeth-whitening strips are made both intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic whitening is the actual bleaching of the teeth to change the enamel color, most commonly with hydrogen peroxide. While extrinsic whitening uses a mild abrasive, such as activated charcoal, to remove stains from the outer surface of the teeth, making them appear more white, but not actually changing the color.
Whitening Gel Tray
Another commonly used teeth whitening practice is the use of a whitening gel tray. These gel trays yield the best, longest-lasting results of the most available whitening methods.
The tray is custom-made and fitted specifically for you by your dentist by using a mold of your teeth. Your whitening tray can be used as long as you have it, given your teeth do not significantly shift.
To use this whitening gel tray you will purchase a gel to be used at home. To ensure the life of the gel it is best kept in the refrigerator. To use the tray at home, remove the gel from the refrigerator and squirt it into the tray. Place the tray on your teeth ensuring the gel does not touch your gums. The whitening tray can be left on anywhere from 1-3 hours depending on your teeth sensitivity and personal preference. It is important that you do not use the whitening gel tray overnight as it can lead to extreme sensitivity.
Professional Teeth Whitening
A professional teeth whitening session is often performed in a dentist’s office. These visits often take longer than at-home whitening treatments, however, the results are typically better than you will receive from at-home treatments. Professional teeth whitening takes several sessions to healthily achieve a bright, white smile.
At a professional teeth whitening appointment, a high concentration of either hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide will be applied to your teeth, typically several times throughout the duration of your appointment. Your dentist will often finish up your treatment using a UV light to accelerate the reaction of the whitening treatment.
Professional teeth whitening does not just change the color of the surface of the tooth. With professional whitening treatments, you can whiten your teeth from the inside out. You will see a noticeable difference in the color of your teeth with just one treatment, although it is still recommended to follow through with 1-3 appointments for optimal results.
Professional Teeth Whitening at Lifetime Dental Health
Whether you are currently whitening your teeth, or are looking into professional teeth whitening, it’s important to remember that you must keep up with routine dental appointments and good oral hygiene. It is recommended to see a dentist for a routine cleaning and a checkup every 6 months.
Most of us do it twice a day. Many of us do it at least once. You guessed it! Brush our teeth. And maybe floss. We all know how to do it, and that’s a good thing. But there’s more to a good oral hygiene regimen, regardless of how often you do it.
What is a Good Oral Hygiene Regimen?
There are four fundamental tasks for basic oral health, and you may already do them. Still, we can all use a refresher course on how to do those tasks as well as we can.
Step #1: Brushing When? Preferably twice a day – when you wake up and when you go to bed. If you can’t do this, brush at least once every 24 hours. If you have breakfast prior to your first-of-the-day brush, wait to brush for 45-60 minutes, particularly if breakfast included orange juice or grapefruit. Acidic foods like these can loosen tooth enamel and brushing may damage your teeth.
Why? The #1 reason is to prevent cavities. Brushing removes plaque (a coating of bacteria) on your teeth which, if left to settle in, causes tooth decay. Just as important is that brushing also stimulates your gums. Gum disease does more than ruin your teeth. It can lead to major health problems, including stroke, heart disease, and diabetes.
How? Position your brush at a 45-degree angle to your teeth and gums and brush up and down on the front and back, and back and forth across the top. Brush for a minimum of two minutes. (You can buy electric toothbrushes that beep every 30 seconds, so you can brush each quarter of your teeth for the same length of time.) The American Dental Association recommends using a soft-bristled brush and an ADA-approved toothpaste.
Step #2: Flossing When?Before you brush. And at least once a day. Whatever is in your mouth when you fall asleep has all night to do its damage, so flossing just before bedtime is the optimal time.
Why? Flossing loosens up the bits of food that are too small to see. The ones stuck between your teeth and under your gums. Flossing loosens plaque as well, and that will help your brushing do a better job.
How? You can use dental floss wrapped around your fingers or one of the easy-to-use floss picks (a plastic holder with a piece of floss attached). Slip the floss between your teeth and guide it gently up and down along the side of each tooth and down into the space between tooth and gum. Don’t forget those molars in the back!
Step #3: Rinsing When? Every time you do Steps #1 and #2, also rinse with mouthwash. Pick a flavor you like (brand doesn’t matter) so you’ll be more likely to do it regularly.
Why? For the same reason you usually drink something after eating. Flossing and brushing are most important, but even done well, they can miss some things. Rinsing flushes out the last few bits of toothpaste and food. Not to mention that mouthwash makes your mouth feel – and taste – totally refreshed!
How? It’s simple! Fill the cap of the bottle with mouthwash and move the liquid around in your mouth for 30 seconds, then spit it out. Be sure to keep your lips closed while rinsing, so the mouthwash can do its job.
Step #4: Scraping When? You needn’t do this after every time you floss, brush, and rinse, but it’s a good idea to make scraping your tongue a regular part of your routine. And it only takes a minute!
Why? Food, bacteria, and dead cells collect on your tongue when you eat or drink. And all that debris can dull your taste buds and lead to tooth decay. While it may seem that brushing would be effective for your tongue as well as your teeth, it isn’t. In fact, one study found that using a tongue scraper can significantly reduce the number of bacteria known to cause bad breath and tooth decay.
How? Use a tongue scraper. They’re designed specifically to clean the tongue. After flossing, brushing, and rinsing, look in the mirror and stick out your tongue. Lay the rounded edge of the scraper across the back of your tongue (or start in the middle if the back activates your gag reflex). Pull the scraper gently along your tongue from the back to the tip. Never push the scraper from the tip to the back! One or two scrapes should do the job.
How Can I Tell If my Hygiene Routine Is Working?
The first indication will be almost immediate – your mouth will feel fresh, clean, and healthy. Over time, you’ll notice other conditions – and the lack of some – that demonstrate your success.
Your breath will smell fresh and your teeth will feel clean even when you first wake up
Your gums will look pink and healthy, and they won’t bleed when you floss and brush
Your mouth will flinch less when you eat or drink something hot or cold
What Else Do I Need to Know?
Here are a few extra guidelines for taking the best care of your mouth:
Eat plenty of crunchy vegetables and fruit
Limit food and drinks that are sugary or acidic
Drink plenty of water, and never chew ice
Keep your toothbrush clean and get a new one often
Don’t use tobacco
Of course, some problems and conditions can’t be seen in your bathroom mirror. So, it’s important to see us at least twice a year for a checkup and a thorough cleaning. We encourage you to contact us or make an appointment online. Your mouth will thank you!
It’s common to see people wearing mouth guards in Columbus for protection during all kinds of sports, such as football, basketball, and boxing – but did you know that lots of folks wear mouth guards at night for their dental health? People who grind their teeth (bruxism) and people with sleep apnea can get relief from their symptoms simply by wearing a specially-designed mouth guard at night. Dr. Barry and Dr. Love have helped many Columbus residents improve their quality of life with nightguards. Our team at Lifetime Dental Health invite you to come visit us today to find out more.
As specialists in facial anatomy and esthetics, an increasing number of dentists are taking their skills into the world of Botox®. Often associated just with appearances, Botox® can be equally as therapeutic as cosmetic.
Botox® is a purified protein that irons out wrinkles by attaching to a muscle and preventing it from contracting. (Muscle contracting away from skin is what causes wrinkles). This has thus far been its most popular use in cosmetic facial treatments.
What most patients don’t know is this same function can relax other muscles in the jaw and face for pain relief or support of orthodontics.
Have you ever heard someone say, “It was worse than a root canal?” Most of us in Columbus are used to hearing root canals compared to some genuinely unpleasant circumstances, but Dr. Barry & Dr. Love would like set the record straight and talk about how root canals can do some serious dental good. As always, we are happy to answer any questions you may have, so please feel free to give Lifetime Dental Health a call.
Root Canals Save Teeth
Here it comes, the question on everyone’s mind – why on Earth would you want a root canal?! There is one thing all dentists in Columbus and beyond will agree on – saving your natural teeth is always the best option. There are many ways that Dr. Barry & Dr. Love can replace missing or damaged teeth, but nothing is as good as the real thing. If you have a tooth with inflamed or infected pulp, a root canal, or endodontic treatment, can get rid of infection and save it. Thus, root canals are preferable to extraction. Here are some more advantages of endodontic treatment:
With modern advances in dental medicine and the careful attention that Columbus residents pay to their dental hygiene, it is hard to imagine what life for teeth was like when the pilgrims first landed on these shores. We at Lifetime Dental Health would like to share with you how our roots took care of their roots, so we can appreciate just how far dental care has come in the hundreds of years since.