Over the years, your pearly whites undergo serious stress and exposure to acidic foods and beverages. As much as you try to care for them, the reality is that your teeth may not be as bright and white as they once were.

For most, the solution is simply to pick up a whitening product in hopes of achieving a perfect smile. But, if you’re concerned about the safety of using one, you’re not alone.

The truth is, most whitening methods have been proven to be both safe and effective.

The amount of teeth whitening products available to consumers either over-the-counter (OTC) or applied by a professional has been growing over the last twenty years. This has caused the American Dental Association (ADA) to set up some rules regarding whitening products.

In fact, the ADA Council on Scientific Affairs monitors the development of whitening products to relay information on their effectiveness and safety to the public. While mild side effects may result from the use of some whitening products, these generally stop once treatment stops, and long lasting effects are rare.

For those looking to restore the look of their pearly whites, Heroes Dental offers professional teeth whitening in our offices.

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What are the types of whitening products available?

The purpose of any whitening product is to make the teeth appear whiter. This may done with either bleach-containing products or non-bleaching products.

Unsurprisingly, when a product bleaches the tooth, its natural color changes. In contrast, non-bleaching whitening products use special agents that cause a physical or chemical reaction to remove surface stains.

In either case, the two main types of whitening products available are peroxide-containing bleaching agents and dentifrices (whitening toothpastes):

  • Dentifrices. These whitening toothpastes are widely available OTC for consumers. Products that contain the ADA Seal of Acceptance have ingredients that can help remove surface stains and improve the appearance of teeth. Make sure to look for the ADA Seal of Acceptance to verify that the whitening product you are purchasing is recommended for use.
  • Peroxide-containing bleaching agents. The main ingredient in these products is carbamide peroxide, which breaks down into hydrogen peroxide and acts as the active bleaching agent. It is important to state that there are side effects related to these types of agents, such as tooth sensitivity and irritation of the soft tissue in the mouth. These side effects are generally mild and temporary.

What options are available for teeth whitening?

Dentists can administer whitening products or consumers can purchase them over-the-counter.

Products may come in the form of bleaching strips, gel trays, paint-on materials, and powders/pastes. Before purchasing an OTC whitening product, make sure to consult your dentist for information on the safety and strength of the product.

While professionally-applied bleaching products are not subject to the ADA Seal of Acceptance, they are vastly different in application time and concentration compared to home-use whitening products. Amazingly, while at-home products may require application throughout a two to four week period, a professional teeth whitening procedure will only take about one hour.

The application of these agents at a dentist office may be accompanied with a light or laser, though according to the ADA no additional long-term benefits have been confirmed with light-activated systems.

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What does the ADA say about teeth whitening?

Whether you opt for professional teeth whitening or an OTC product, the ADA recommends you consult a dentist prior to selecting the product to ensure safety.

This is particularly important for individuals with dark surface stains, and even fillings or crowns, as whitening effects may become unevenly distributed.

A dentist can perform a dental exam to determine if and which whitening products are most suitable for your needs.

Your smile will always be in good hands as long as Heroes Dental is involved.

Call a Heroes Dental location close to you today to start your journey to a brighter and whiter smile.

With offices located in Laredo, Mission, San Juan, Pharr and Edinburg, our patients can enjoy teeth whitening services all throughout the Rio Grande Valley and South Texas.

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