Who doesn't want a captivating, bright, white smile? It's a big business. In fact, it's estimated people around the world spend an estimated $11 billion a year on getting that white smile. But which products do the job and which ones are duds?
"If you went back 20 years you couldn't find anybody that had these shades, even somebody who was super healthy and didn't do anything to darken the teeth at all," Prosthodontist Keith Clear said.
Dr. Clear said the obsession with whiter teeth can be seen in the new shades manufacturers have added to the whitening spectrum over the past few years.
"And they could come up with new colors that have never even been on the planet before, and now we could add these colors on and this is what people sometimes think natural, healthy teeth look like, but really, these are colors that haven't existed before. These were healthy colors," Dr. Clear said.
One key to a better, whiter smile is how long the product stays in contact with your teeth. So, whitening pens aren't nearly as effective as whitening strips.
"These actually work quite well and people can get a very good bleaching job using white strips, it's just you have to do it over and over again, maybe 60 different applications," he said.
Bleaching tray products are the closest thing to what the dentist uses.
"But these trays are somewhat generic, they're somewhat a few sizes fits most people, so that's where it's going to be the frustrating portion is just trying to get the gel to stay on the teeth in a way that's comfortable so you can have it on your teeth long enough to get a result," Dr. Clear said.
Products with hydrogen peroxide yield fast results but also fade fast. Carbamide peroxide takes longer, but lasts longer. And kits with the blue light?
"This is essentially just a flashlight with some blue cellophane on it," Dr. Clear said.
Toothpastes are whitening products, so they'll remove surface stains, but they won't bleach your teeth. For people with sensitive teeth, Dr. Clear recommends using a toothpaste like Sensodyne for one or two weeks before you start bleaching.
If you would like more information, check out the medical breakthroughs on the web at www.ivanhoe.com.
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