woman with teeth whitened

Best Practices for Teeth Whitening

How do I know what is safe and effective when it comes to teeth whitening?

We all want to make a good first impression, whether it is with someone we are meeting for the first time or walking into a room filled with friends and family. One of the first things that anyone notices is whether we are smiling. A smile can set the tone of the entire encounter, making it one that is open, engaging and welcoming. The lack of a smile or one that is minimal sends an entirely different message and can lead to an experience that is less inviting and friendly. It can give the impression that we are standoffish or that we do not want to be there. 

Our reactions to others are based on a wide range of cues. Unfortunately, the smile, which is one of the most common of these indicators, is not always an accurate measure. Many people who are embarrassed about the quality of their smile due to teeth that are discolored make a conscious effort not to smile. This can have a huge impact on personal as well as professional relationships. 

With all of the different methods available for teeth whitening, it would seem to be something easily fixed. As popular as it may appear, however, not everyone is comfortable with the process and there are concerns about knowing what is safe and what products should be avoided based on potential damage and side effects.   

How Does the Teeth Whitening Process Work? 

Obviously, teeth whitening is exactly what it says; making teeth that have become discolored or stained appear to be whiter again. There are many possible causes of discoloration, including foods, like coffee, tea and wine, as well as tobacco products, poor dental hygiene, antibiotics and other drugs, cancer treatments, disease, aging and a variety of other issues. Reversing these effects with a whitening process is normally done either through bleaching the teeth, which changes its color, or with products that work to remove the stains from the surface of the teeth through a chemical or physical interaction. 

It is always a good idea to either have your teeth whitened by a dentist that you trust or to seek advice from your dental professional as to which products are safe to use at home. While teeth whitening has come a long way and there are safe ways to accomplish your goal, there are concerns to take into account. The most common of these are:

  • Gums — your gums may become irritated and sore due to interaction with bleaching agents
  • Teeth — tooth sensitivity may result from the whitening process, especially for those who are already prone to this issue. In most cases it will be temporary.

Whether you choose to have your teeth professionally whitened by your dentist or by using an over-the-counter product, you will want to keep them as white as possible. While it’s not possible to avoid some of the causes of discoloration, there are some things that you can do that will make a big difference. Avoiding tobacco products is probably the first thing that should go on that list. After that, be cognizant of rinsing your mouth after consuming foods like berries and tomato sauces. Use a straw whenever drinking beverages that tend to stain. Perhaps most importantly, consistently practice good dental hygiene.   

If you would like more suggestions about how to improve your smile or have questions about any of our services, whether dentistry or aesthetics, Cohen Dental Care is dedicated to delivering the highest quality services possible. We offer the latest and most current information and services to our patients with a new state-of-the-art facility in Great Neck and Briarwood. 

For more information or to schedule an appointment, you are invited to use our online form by clicking here.