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OTC Whitening Kits and Dentist Teeth Whitening: What’s the Difference?

Photo of pearly whites after using a dental bleaching kitImage: Oasisdentalcare

When you smile, do you like what you see? Everyone wants to have stunningly white teeth, but for some of us it can be tougher to achieve that perfect smile. Thankfully, there is help out there in the form of teeth whitening products and treatments. Turning your dull, stained, or yellow teeth into a brilliant shade of white can be just a few treatments away!

If you're looking to brighten up your smile you might be wondering what is the safest way to whiten your teeth.  We understand that looking into the various types teeth bleaching products available on the market can be a little overwhelming. There are tons of options out there, and sometimes the choices can all blend together.

The main options available are:

  1. Dental whitening procedure - offered in-chair by your dentist; or
  2. Over the counter, at-home teeth whitening kits.

One especially big distinction that people want to understand is what the difference is between an over the counter teeth whitening kit, compared to bleaching by a dental professional. 

What Is a Dental Whitening Procedure?

Photo of dental bleaching procedure at the dentist, not a kitImage: kreativedentalclinic

Professional dental (in-chair) treatments

When you go to the dentist, you can ask if the office provides professional bleaching treatments. These treatments involve the dentist painting a bleaching gel on each tooth. As the Colgate Oral Care Center explains, this gel is pretty powerful, “in-office whitening procedures are carefully monitored and contain a higher concentration of bleaching gel.” The bleach is left on for a specific amount of time, and much like a kit, a light may be used to help increase the results you see. A professional whitening session typically lasts between 30 and 60 minutes depending on the type of bleaching agent used. The molds used for the procedure are made by the dentist to mold perfectly to your teeth, offering a very precise procedure. 

The benefits of a professional whitening treatment: 

  1. A dental professional knows your teeth and your enamel, so they can judge whether it will work for you; 
  2. Unlike with a kit, the process is fully monitored, as is the progress of the teeth whitening treatment while you're in the chair; and 
  3. The gel used to whiten your teeth can be stronger that you might find in a kit as it is closely monitored by a dental professional. 

We'll go into further detail about these benefits vs a kit to help you choose the best option for your individual needs.

What Are Over the Counter Whitening Kits?

Pearly Whites professional kit

There is a wide range of teeth whitening products available both online and in your local pharmacy. One type that has been growing in popularity is teeth whitening kits. A kit typically comes with special trays that will fit snugly over your teeth. When you open the kit, you will find the trays, a specific type of whitening gel, and in some cases, a portable LED light. The purpose of the light is to increase the power by activating the bleaching ingredients. However, some kits do not use the light method, and rely on the active ingredients to complete the treatment.

Each kit comes with specific instructions, but you will typically need to place a designated amount of gel in each tray. You will then place the tray over your teeth to hold the gel closely against each tooth and ensure they all are exposed to the bleaching agents. You will generally need to wear the trays for a specific amount of time (usually under an hour) for a few days to a few weeks in order to see the full results.

What is included in the kit?

An over the counter whitening kit will generally (but not always) contain: 

  • a set of moldable mouth trays for use on your top and bottom teeth;
  • bleaching gel;
  • a LED light is offered by some companies; and
  • a set of clear instructions to ensure the safest treatment for you at home. 

Which Type Is Right for Me?

First, it is important to talk to your dentist. They will be able to give you helpful advice about which products will work best while keeping your pearly whites nice and healthy. Your dentist can also check your teeth to make sure they are in good shape and will be good candidates for the procedure.

Beyond a dental consultation, the choice of which type of whitening you get is up to you. There are a few important factors you should consider when deciding whether to use a kit or get it done at the dentist:

  1. How much do you want to spend? This is an important question because teeth whitening costs can vary greatly. Kits can range from close to $100 and up, while most professional in-chair dental treatments cost around $650.
  2. How discolored are your teeth? Check out your current smile, is it just a bit dull or does it need a lot of work? The type of treatment you choose depends heavily on how much improvement you want to see. If you just want your teeth to be a few shades lighter, you might want to do a less intense treatment, like you would get with a kit. If you suffer from  extreme tooth staining or discoloration, you should probably consider a professional treatment as the agents used are more aggressive. Professional treatments are especially popular with people who drink a lot of red wine or coffee, and people who smoke heavily.
  3. Where do you want to receive your treatment? Some people aren’t big fans of going to the dentist, and would much prefer to do their treatments using a kit at home. Other people find it tough to remember to use the kit consistently, so they prefer to go to the dentist and get it done quickly.

There are people who absolutely love both the in-chair and kit methods. We recommend you do your research and consider your options when choosing which type of teeth whitening will be best for you.  We recommend you consider how safe it is to whiten your teeth and the cost of teeth whitening when making your decision.

Please do note that some people report an increase in tooth sensitivity after treatments, so it is extremely important to make sure your teeth are very healthy when you start. Whether you choose to use a kit or go for in-chair dental bleaching, you can look forward to a brighter smile in your future!

 

 

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The Good Teeth Guide

We’ve all heard the saying that your body is a temple so you need to treat it well. Taking care of your health is important, and while medical science is making great strides, that doesn’t get you off the hook when it comes to daily maintenance. One of the best ways to make sure you stay healthy and feeling good is to take excellent care of your teeth. Having a healthy smile will keep you feeling confident, and help you avoid the complications that come with poor oral hygiene. Here are some great ways to make sure you are taking the best possible care of your teeth.

Brush Your Teeth the Right Way

Throwing toothpaste on a toothbrush and running it across your teeth just is not enough. There are a lot of people who assume that a quick brush once a day is sufficient, but it isn’t. Here is how you really should brush your teeth:

  1. Choose the right tools – The toothbrush and toothpaste that you choose are the basis for your brushing routine. There are tons of options out there of both types. In terms of toothbrushes, you can get a manual brush or an electric one, and you can choose soft, medium, or hard bristle types. The American Dental Association (ADA) weighs in on the issue saying that either option can work, “Whether you decide on manual or powered, choose a toothbrush that you like and find easy to use, so that you’ll use it twice a day to thoroughly clean all the surfaces of your teeth.”
  2. Brush those teeth – As noted above, the ADA recommends brushing your teeth twice a day. Here’s what the Mayo Clinic says about the best way to brush your teeth, “Hold your toothbrush at a slight angle — aiming the bristles toward the area where your tooth meets your gum. Gently brush with short back-and-forth motions. Remember to brush the outside, inside and chewing surfaces of your teeth, as well as your tongue.” A complete cleaning takes a few minutes, but it will help you ensure that your entire mouth is clean.

A Guide to Flossing


Image: dailyspooge.com

A lot of people dread that awkward moment when their dentist asks how often they floss. Why do they keep asking? It’s because flossing really is important. There are little gaps and spaces between your teeth that need to be cleaned out regularly. Brushing your teeth can’t get into those tight places, so that’s where flossing comes in. Using dental floss regularly helps to prevent gum disease as it removes pieces of food and plaque from between your teeth that normal brushing can’t reach. When plaque is allowed to build up, the bacteria can cause inflammation and irritate the gums.

WebMD recommends that you floss twice a day, but if you can only fit in one session then choose to floss a night because, “’Your salivary flow is very low when you're sleeping,’ Srivastava says. ‘So for those 7 or 8 hours you're in bed, you're not washing away the bacteria teeming in your mouth.’” Don’t sleep with a bacteria-filled mouth, instead take a minute and floss before your head hits the pillow.

Mouth rinses Can Help


Image: psu.edu

Even though your teeth probably feel extremely clean, there is another step that can be really beneficial. Again, we turn to the ADA for details on why mouth rinses and mouthwashes can help, “Mouth rinses are used for a variety of reasons: to freshen breath, to help prevent or control tooth decay, to reduce plaque (a thin film of bacteria that forms on teeth), to prevent or reduce gingivitis (an early stage of gum disease), to reduce the speed that tartar (hardened plaque) forms on the teeth, or to produce a combination of these effects.” With all of those benefits, it’s hard to justify not using a mouthwash.

One thing to remember is that you shouldn’t rinse right after you brush as you will be washing away all of the benefits that your toothpaste can provide. This includes rinsing with mouthwash, as it will remove all the concentrated fluoride in the toothpaste left on your teeth. To get the most out of your mouthwash, choose a different time to use it, for instance after lunch. Mouthwashes can be a great way to keep your entire mouth healthy, just make sure you stagger your use so as not to counteract the benefits of your toothpaste.

Taking excellent care of your teeth just makes sense. You’ll have fewer dentist visits, healthier teeth, and a better chance of preventing cavities and decay. Make oral hygiene a standard part of your daily routine, and you will be on track to keep your teeth healthy and sparkling white for many years to come.

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Celebrate National Dentist Day

National Dentist Day

You may never have heard about National Dentist Day which falls on March 6th. At first, it might seem odd to celebrate this medical profession, especially as so many people unfortunately fear going into the dentist office. However, a little reflection on just how much your dentist does for you will show you how much they deserve to be acknowledged and recognized for all they do.

 

What Is National Dentist Day?

Becoming a dentist is a very respected career choice, and requires a lot of hard work and studying. While it might seem like being a dentist is a fairly new profession, in fact, the first dentist in recorded history was an Egyptian named Hesy Ra, who is thought to have lived and practiced his dentistry in Egypt around 2600 BCE. However, the French surgeon Pierre Fuachard, known as the “Father of Modern Dentistry” didn’t appear until 1723.

 

While the profession is extremely old, it has evolved greatly as time has gone on and medical technology progresses. Dentists devote their time and brainpower to developing new and improved ways to take care of our teeth.

 

Why Celebrate Your Dentist?

A dentist does an extremely important job. Have you ever had any tooth pain or discomfort, or oral health issues? If you have, you probably know just how painful they can be and how all you want is for the pain to go away. Who do you turn to but your friendly neighborhood dentist? Your dentist is there to help you in these emergency situations should they arise, with helpful and pain relieving medical treatments.

 

Dentists are also there for you when things aren’t quite so bad. Your dentist helps to make sure your teeth are healthy and when you’re young they ensure they are growing properly. If it looks like you might need braces to keep your teeth straight and prevent issues, they can refer you to an orthodontist. From the time you get your first tooth and on to the rest of your life, you rely on your dentist for guidance and assistance with all of your dental health needs. Doesn’t that deserve a bit of a celebration?

 

How Can You Celebrate?

For one thing, you should keep your teeth clean and healthy! Don’t give your dentist unnecessary hard work, instead, make sure they can take a bit of a well-earned break by giving them a simple job at your next checkup. Not to mention, taking especially good care of your teeth is a gift to yourself as well. Having healthy, strong teeth starts with keeping them clean.

 

You can also celebrate by getting yourself a special treat to help make your smile even better. A lot of people enjoy getting whitening kits or treatments to boost the dazzling white color of their teeth. That can be a great way to celebrate the excellent health of your teeth, all while praising your dentist for giving you such a healthy canvas to whiten!

 

If you really want to celebrate National Dentist Day, then schedule yourself an appointment this March 6th. Call your dentist’s office today to see if they can fit you in on the special day. It would be a nice gesture to get your dentist a little thank you card. After all, everyone deserves a little token of gratitude for their hard work!

 

Famous Dentists

Some famous (or infamous) people you might not expect were also trained dentists. Here is a list of some surprising celebrities who were also experts in the dental field.

 

  • Paul Revere – He did a lot more than just warn the troops about the British; Paul Revere was also a dentist! Apparently he trained under John Baker who is reported to be America’s first dentist.
  • John Henry “Doc” Holliday – Yes, he fought at the O.K. Corral, but he was also a trained dentist who practiced in Atlanta for a time.
  • Edgar Buchanan – Have you ever watched Green Acres or Petticoat Junction? Then you might be familiar with popular actor Edgar Buchanan. It seems he was a lot more than just a successful television actor, and he actually started out as a dentist.
  • Jim Lonborg – Jim was a famous baseball pitcher who played Major League Baseball for several teams in the 1960s and 1970s. After he retired from playing baseball, he went to Tufts University School of Dental Medicine and has been a practicing dentist ever since.

 

So as you see, it’s always worth taking a trip to the dentist. As well as ensuring your teeth are in tip top condition, you never know who you might meet!

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Celebrate National Tooth Fairy Day, 28th February

A fun day to celebrate, especially if you have smaller children in your family is the National Tooth Fairy Day, on the 28th February. This day is all about taking proper care of your pearly whites – so it’s not just a good lesson for the kids, but also for you!

The Tradition of the Tooth Fairy

Image: Stayathomemum.com.au

It all started in the mid-1920s, as a way to encourage and remind children to take care of their teeth, eat in a healthy way and get a good night sleep. The Tooth Fairy actually came to life in 1927, when a small booklet about oral care for children was first printed out. After that, nothing could stop the imagination of people and the tooth fairy rumours became real for children all around the world. This also encouraged children to overcome the trauma of their teeth falling out as they are promised a small reward from the tooth fairy.

Fun Things to Do On National Tooth Fairy Day If You Have Children:

It’s important to raise awareness and “celebrate” this day with your kids or little cousins. Explain to them about the importance of having healthy teeth and taking care of them by eating healthy food and cutting down on sugar. To make it more fun for them, here are a few things that every 2-6 year old will enjoy:

  • Making Healthy Snacks: Fresh vegetable sticks with hummus and sour cream dips and their favourite movie is a great plan for this day
  • Reading a Book about The Tooth Fairy: There are various books available related to the tooth fairy and dental care. If your children are smaller, they will definitely enjoy a story about the adventures of the tooth fairy
  • Tooth Fairy Colour Books: If they are obsessed with colouring, print out a few tooth fairy images they can colour in while chatting about the importance of the keeping their teeth healthy

Things You Can Do For Yourself

For adults, National Tooth Fairy Day is all about realizing the importance of taking care of your teeth properly. Besides looking great on photos and feeling more confident about your smile, dental care is also important for your own health. No one wants to deal with sensitive and bad teeth or sensitive gums, and with a few minutes each day, you can make sure to avoid these problems.

Brushing your teeth 2-3 times a day, flossing, using mouth water, cutting down on sugary snacks and drinks and avoiding eating too hot and too cold food that can make your teeth sensitive is all on the list for proper oral care. Another thing you can do during this is visiting your dentist for a regular dental check.

Spoil Yourself…

…with a teeth whitening session. What better day can you imagine for a teeth whitening session than the national day for dental care? Invest in an at home teeth whitening kit to get those teeth pearly white.

So enjoy National Tooth Fairy day by taking care of your teeth, and remember to say CHEESE!

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How Safe is it to Whiten Your Teeth?

style="text-align: justify;"It seems like some people will do anything to achieve the beauty standards they desire. But what is the cost? Of course you want to get a dazzling white smile, but you probably have some concerns about how safe some of these whiteners are for your teeth. How do these products transform a yellow smile into a white one, and are you doing any damage to your teeth when you use them? Read on to learn more about what teeth whitening products are made of, and how safe they really are to use on your teeth.

What is in Whitening Products?

First, it is good to know what ingredients are typically used in tooth whiteners. The American Dental Association (ADA) has the following to say “Whitening products may be administered by dentists in the dental office, dispensed by dentists for home-use, or purchased over-the-counter (OTC), and can be categorized into two major groups:

  • Peroxide-containing bleaching agents; and
  • Whitening toothpastes (dentifrices).”

These two types of products make up the majority of whitening methods. However, there are also some recipes for making your own at-home whitening pastes that do not require any chemicals at all, including making pastes from activated charcoal. Not all whitening methods contain chemicals, but how safe are teeth whitening products?

Are These Products Safe?

For the most part, the whitening products on the market have been proven to be safe as Colgate explains, “Teeth whitening techniques have been well evaluated over the years, and the results obtained both in the dental office and at home are virtually guaranteed.” These products and methods have undergone extensive studies and evaluations into their effects on teeth before they reach the homes (and mouths) of consumers.

The products are safe because they are not designed to impact the structure of your teeth, as the Dear Doctor website explains, “Generally speaking, whitening is safe because the chemicals used to attack the organic molecules do not materially affect the mineral structure of the tooth itself.” Most whitening products are designed to erase surface stains on your teeth caused by years of acidic and staining foods and drinks that leave your teeth dull and yellow. These stains are on the tooth’s surface, and are easily whitened away without harming the integrity of your teeth.

If you are especially concerned about the safety of whitening, then consider going to your dentist to get their professional advice on whether or not your teeth are suitable for bleaching.

Potential Issues

An unfortunate side effect of the whitening process is tooth sensitivity. While using the products is typically safe, they might still cause some tooth pain. Luckily, the sensitivity should not last long and will fade in time once you stop using the whitening product. If you are experiencing some dental pain, avoid beverages that are served at extreme temperatures and hot, spicy foods. As always, if your teeth are causing you a lot of pain, then you should visit your dentist to make sure everything is all right.

While the sensitivity is an unpleasant part of teeth whitening for some people, it is likely only temporary. Once you finish your treatment method, it should subside. The Pearly Whites Professional Kit comes with a desensitization gel to help replace minerals, seal your results and soothe after whitening.

Make an Informed Choice

If you want to whiten your teeth and have any concerns regarding your dental health or sensitivity issues, then talk to your dentist first. After all, no one knows your teeth better than they do! If you do the research and choose your whitening product and method wisely, then you will be able to safely and effectively whiten your smile.

[Click here for the Pearly Whites frequently asked questions]

 

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