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Spring Cleaning for Your Pearly Whites!

Spring Cleaning for those pearly (off) whites!


 pearl teeth


Ok, lets start with the facts:


  • Teeth, naturally are an off-white to yellow color.
  • Some have naturally whiter teeth, some naturally more yellow.
  • As we age our teeth become more yellow
  • Stain & discoloration can occur in the structure of the teeth OR on the outer surface of the teeth


The Main culprits we contribute to the staining & yellowing of teeth are:


  • Red wine
  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Other foods (rule of thumb: if it would stain your carpet it will stain your teeth)
  • Smoking (Please focus on quitting. Whitening is a great way to treat yourself for the accomplishment!)


Now, I firmly believe in practicing what you preach, therefore I will not ask you to give any of the above up (except of course smoking). Like most things in life, practice moderation. If you are trying to get & keep your teeth pearly white, watching the intake of such food & beverages is key.


Next step is regular cleanings. The removal of plaque, tartar and staining on the outer surface of the teeth can really brighten up your smile.


Now that they are bright, time to get them white! I always recommend starting with Crest Whitestrips.  They are fairly inexpensive and for most, do a great job. Whitestrips are a tape-like strip pre-coated with a whitening agent.


Sensitivity to cold is quite common during a whitening course. Again, everyone experiences this in different ways. For some it can be the end of whitening, for others it is just a noticeable discomfort during the process. I find the use of a desensitizing toothpaste (reduces sensitivity to cold) will do the trick. I start brushing with this toothpaste a few days before starting my course, and continue using it until about a week afterwards.


 The whitening agent is meant for the teeth and therefore the gums should be avoided. For some, exposure of this agent to the gums causes a burning sensation. If this happens you need to STOP the course. Potential for side effects is why I recommend starting with the strips. They work, and are much less expensive than professional whitening trays. If the side effects deter you from whitening, you haven’t wasted hundreds of dollars on something you won’t use again.


If you don’t get the result you want from strips, or don’t like them, then you might try custom fit professional whitening trays. These are reusable trays, which are designed to fit your teeth.  Whitening agent is deposited into the trays, and worn as directed by the whitening formula you are using.  The whitening formulas used in professional whitening agents are a stronger concentration than strips. Professional trays can yield more thorough and whiter results than the concentration  & application of the strips.


These trays are designed to keep the whitening agent away from the gums-as long as you follow directions for applying the whitening agent. Cold sensitivity is still a likely side effect with professional whitening.


There are other whitening options, designed to yield ‘instant’ results. In office whitening usually involves an even higher concentration of whitening agent, and a Light to speed up the process. Most in office formulas also require the use of professional trays at home afterwards. I have heard of a lot of discomfort with this method, to the point of stopping the procedure due to sensitivity. Results are much quicker, but usually yield the same result as professional trays.


If you have fillings in your front teeth that are white, these will not change shade with whitening agents. Whitening agents are only effective on natural tooth surface.  There is some stain that can occur within the tooth. These also will not change shade with whitening agents. Overall, if you want to yield the best results, discuss your options with a dental professional. Results with whitening vary, so its good to have a handle on what to expect.


A last note:Unless you want the Ross Gellar look from the tanning incident (if you haven’t seen this episode of Friends, his teeth look neon white) then use the white part of your eyes to compare as a benchmark. If you don’t go whiter than this, the shade you accomplish will be natural looking.


Happy Spring Cleaning!




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