An eye-catching smile reflects warmth, trust, and friendliness unlike any other human characteristic.  Actors discover that a smile aids their careers, and mothers instinctively know their smile calms a fussy baby. This universal asset crosses every border and brightens faded photos from bygone eras.  That’s probably why teeth whitening tops the list of the most popular cosmetic services requested by patients from their dentist.  Up to 10 million people will purchase whitening products and services in the U.S. this year alone.

Along with reliable information on teeth whitening, some misconceptions exist.  While the best source of accurate information and quality product selection is your dentist, here are a few myths that need a quick look.

Whitening toothpastes are not as effective as whitening at the dentist’s office. 

Myth 1: Whitening Toothpastes and Rinses Will Do The Trick

On a crowded supermarket shelf, every product looks for a reason to stand out. As a result, many whitening toothpastes and rinses catch the consumer’s eye. While there’s nothing wrong with these products, they’re far too weak to produce a significant result.  Breakdown of stain doesn’t occur until after about 20 minutes of product contact with the teeth. If you rely on these products for a brighter smile, you’ll be waiting a long time to see a difference.

Myth 2: Gels Purchased Online Are The Same As Professional Gels

The quality of the gels used for whitening makes a significant difference in the outcome.  While all gels are created from a base of carbamide or hydrogen peroxide, their formulations and handling aren’t always equal. Gels are highly sensitive to temperature and deteriorate if not stored or transported properly, and expiration dates come and go quicker than with many products.  Dentists use products from highly-reputable sources with excellent quality control protocols in place.  Plus, the type and strength of gel used should be personalized for each patient for predictable results.

Myth 3:  Discolored Crowns and Fillings Whiten Just Like Teeth

Your smile should be evaluated for materials that won’t respond to whitening, including porcelain crowns and composite fillings.  If these teeth don’t show when you grin, then there’s little concern. But a porcelain crown centered in your smile won’t change color at all, often leaving a discolored tooth unchanged.  Yet whitening can be a valuable initial step to brighten your overall smile, followed by replacement of dark crowns and fillings with modern materials.  Be sure to discuss the desired result with Dr. Hixson and discover which areas will lighten...or not.

Teeth whitening does not last forever. 

Myth 4: Once Teeth Are Whitened, It Lasts Forever

Stain accumulates on the surfaces of the teeth exposed to many different foods and drinks.  Coffee, tea, chocolate, wine and tobacco top the list of yellowing agents that deposit color onto the enamel.  While professional whitening agents break down the barrier, new deposits begin to form immediately. But the enhanced color usually holds nicely for 1-2 years and may stay indefinitely with a simple maintenance routine.  A customized strategy to keep your smile bright can be designed with the Hixson Dental team.

Myth 5:  Whitening Gels Damage Your Teeth

Be careful with this one.  Studies confirm that whitening gels are safe when used in the proper formulations, exposure times, and methods.  Higher concentrations provide benefits in the right situations, but these formulas usually contain fluoride to protect tooth enamel. Poor fitting whitening trays sold as a one-size-fits-all design may lead to excessive tissue irritation. But custom trays ensure an ideal fit and less unnecessary exposure to the whitening ingredients.   Dr. Hixson chooses the highest-quality systems and prescribes a protocol that fits your particular situation.  This approach leads to extremely safe whitening with exceptional results.

Teeth whitening enriches your life by returning the brilliance to your smile, removing years of stain accumulation.  Feel free to discuss your options with our team to find a safe, effective method that fits you.  Before you know it, you’ll be enjoying the 24/7 benefits of a brighter smile!