ARC Dental Health

You've seen the ads on TV and social media. They're the next big influencer trend, but do teeth whitening strips work?

As with everything, it's all in the nuances, like how you use whitening strips and what your natural teeth are like.

This guide will teach you everything you need to know about teeth whitening in general so you can decide if whitening strips are the best way to go for you.

Why Whiten Your Teeth?

In a world full of insta-influencers, teeth whitening products have become a booming industry.

So why do people spend their money on bleaching gels and whitening kits just to have a brighter smile?

For most people, the answer is because they're concerned about their appearance. It's not a selfish reason. Your feelings about your appearance are intricately tied to your self-esteem, and that's a mental health concern.

When you have discolored, brown or yellow teeth, it can cause you to be insecure about your smile. Whiter teeth and self-confidence are linked, so it's no wonder that people pay money for a whiter smile.

Reasons to Get a Tooth Whitening Treatment

There are multiple options for anyone trying to get white teeth. Whether you go the home teeth whitening route or head to a dentist's office for a professional teeth whitening can depend on the reason.

Common Occasions When You Might Want to Whiten Your Teeth

  • For discolored teeth from surface stains, most whitening strips do the job. However, using at home whitening strips can be dangerous if you don't follow the directions. Get a teeth whitening strip product that's approved by the American Dental Association, like Crest whitening strips. Never use a whitening agent without researching it first.
  • For special occasions, when you want to look your best, getting a dental cleaning and professional tooth bleaching procedures is the safest way to go. Head to your dental office at least a week before the special event. When you use a licensed medical professional, the whitening ingredients they have helps you avoid uneven whitening. With dental care, the dangers of using teeth whitening products are minimized.
  • To try to offset the long-term effects of aging or smoking, Crest Whitestrips and other at-home whitening products may not be the best solution. Crest Whitestrips work to remove the thin layer of stains on the surface. But what you have is a buildup of staining on your teeth. To remove stains that have been there a long time, you'll need to talk to your dentist.

Whatever the reason you've decided you want to try using whitening strips or another product, go for it! Just make sure you're on the right track to a healthy smile as you whiten your teeth.

How Do Whitening Products Work?

Are whitening strips the solution you need? Let's start by getting to know how any whitening product does its job.

When you apply whitening strips or a whitening gel, it seems like a simple process, and it is, to a degree. The products contain hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. Both of these bleaches work the same way.

The active ingredient, either hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide, gets in the tooth enamel, down into the layer of dentin.

That's where the stains are, and the bleach breaks those stains up. This works to whiten teeth immediately by making the stains less obvious.

Are All Whitening Products the Same?

Just because Crest Whitestrips and other products have similar ingredients to a professional whitener does not make them the same.

Every whitener has peroxide as its basic ingredient, but that's where the similarities end.

The other ingredients aside from the active whitening ingredient make a difference, too. For instance, in a professional treatment, the dentist may add fluoride to help prevent the enamel from weakening.

This added ingredient also reduces gum irritation and sensitive teeth problems that come with a whitening strip, like Crest Whitestrips.

Warnings to Heed Before Using Whitening Strips or Products

However, some whitening strips have a bleaching agent called chlorine dioxide.

This ingredient does whiten teeth faster than hydrogen peroxide, but in white strips and other products, it can be dangerous.

Before you use any teeth whitener with chlorine dioxide in it, get advice from a dental clinic you trust.

It's always a good idea to talk to your dentist before starting a tooth whitening regimen. Not all whitening strips or products work on every type of discoloration.

Whitening products won't work on dental veneers, and they can worsen problems like tooth decay and gum disease.

Whitening Options

Getting brighter teeth can be accomplished in a few ways:

  • Stain removing toothpaste that scrubs away surface stains. Be sure to find an ADA-accepted product.
  • Over-the-counter bleaching products that have been ADA-approved. Note that these products have a lower concentration of bleach in them, so they don't work as effectively as a professional-grade product.
  • In-office bleaching in your dentist's chair. You'll have a protective gel or rubber shield added to protect your gums, and then the bleaching product is applied. This type of procedure usually only requires one or two visits for optimal whiteness.
  • At-home bleaching from the dentist's office. Your dentist will create a custom-made tray for you to use at home. You still get the benefit of professional-grade ingredients, but you use the whitener in the comfort of your own house. This is a slower-paced procedure. It's still popular for those who feel more comfortable doing their treatment at home.

Common Side Effects of Teeth Whitening

Whether you use teeth whitening strips or another whitening product, there are some side effects that can happen.

Following the directions on the package decreases your chance of dealing with these unwanted symptoms.

And getting whitening solutions from your dentist reduces the possibility of side effects even more.

What to Expect When You Whiten Your Teeth

If you use teeth whitening strips or another over-the-counter or non-professional-grade product, these are some of the things you might notice after your application:

  • An increase in tooth sensitivity as the whitener gel gets into the dentin. The gel irritates the tooth's nerve, which is why you feel tooth sensitivity there. This should be temporary. If it continues for more than a few days, see your dentist.
  • Gum tissue and other soft tissue damage if you use subpar products or overuse whiteners. Instead of continuing to try to whiten teeth with alternative methods, talk to your dentist about ways to avoid staining in the first place. Certain foods and beverages tend to stain your teeth. Brushing twice a day is good for your teeth and gums and reduces the chance of staining.
  • Damage to the enamel if your white strips don't have a pH balancing ingredient in them. There's a reason we're taught to keep bleach out of our mouths at a young age. In small doses, like you find in whitening products, it's "safe." But if the product doesn't have balancing ingredients, you may end up with enamel damage.

If you've had dental work done recently, talk to your dentist before using any whitener. You may also have to find someone to provide medical advice if you have health conditions that could be affected.

Natural Whitening Options

If your medical or dental history makes teeth whitening strips or professional options a no-go, you still have options.

Avoiding those foods, drinks, and bad habits (like smoking, alcohol, and drugs) can mean your upper and lower teeth stay white.

But if you're ready to get them a little brighter, you can use toothpaste with sodium hydroxide or baking soda in it.

These products don't work to brighten your teeth quickly, but they're typically safe on your gums and enamel.

Ready for the Whitest Smile Safely?

When you are serious about getting a white, bright smile, the dentist is the best place to start. With professional whitening options, your natural teeth can become pearly white safely.

Some offices offer professional take-home whitening kits that are custom-fitted to your mouth.

You can also have an in-office treatment with professional-grade ingredients and special tools designed to optimize your enamel's colors quickly.

Call Today for Your Insta-Ready Smile!

Do you have dental work that keeps you from safely using a home teeth whitening kit? Is your special occasion something you don't want to take chances with?

Whatever the reason, when you're ready to get that camera-perfect smile, call your dentist to schedule an appointment.

The teeth whitening products they use are designed to work safely, quickly, and effectively.

Don't take a chance on those over-the-counter whitening strips. Get a professional to help you on the road to your Insta-ready smile!

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