Join cosmetic dentist, Dr. Brian Cantor, as he dispels common myths about teeth whitening and whitening products, including side effects, effectiveness, and safety.
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Hi, I'm Katrina Szish for Howdini. Today we're going to dispel some myths about whitening your teeth. To do that, I'm joined by cosmetic dentist Dr. Brian Kantor. Nice to see. Nice to see you. OK, so I know a lot of myths are flying around out there. We want to set everybody straight, so let's dive right in. True or false-- all teeth whiten the same. False. Unfortunately, all teeth react differently to bleach. Some people get great results from bleach, and others don't. Different-colored teeth will react better to bleach. For example, if your teeth are staying yellow, that will actually react better to bleach than teeth that have a grayish tone to it. So if you have yellowish stained teeth, you should get a better result from bleaching than if you have grayish teeth. Hm, this is a really interesting point. Now, so if I do this one time, will my teeth stay white forever? No, definitely not. You're going to drink wine-- True. --drink coffee, eat a lot of food that teeth will accumulate stain. So once you whiten your teeth, you have to maintain that whiteness. You can do it with over-the-counter products. You can do it with whitening toothpaste. You can do it with whitening rinse or even come back for a professional whitening in the office. If I choose to whiten at home, how long will that take? Well, let's go through what whitening process is, because in the dental chair, professional whitening usually takes about an hour and a half. And that's a high percentage of hydrogen peroxide, and the hydrogen peroxide is isolated on the teeth for a long duration of time. If you have take-home trays, custom trays made by the dentist, you're also using a high percentage of hydrogen peroxide. And that also remains isolated on your teeth for a long time because they're custom made to your teeth. Over-the-counter kits at a pharmacy, a drugstore, they do work as well, but they don't have as high concentration of hydrogen peroxide, and they don't remain isolated on your teeth as long as in-office professional whitening. So it's going to take a longer period of time to get a good result, but they do work. They're a lot more cost effective, but they do work. Now, do whitening toothpastes bleach the teeth? Now, there's a difference between whitening and bleaching, and people get confused about that all the time. All the products are whitening products or bleaching products. But the difference is whitening toothpaste is a whitening product. What whitening does is it actually makes your teeth appear whiter than they are by removing surface stains. So the way the toothpastes do that is it has hydrated silica, which is a minor abrasive. And you use that to get the surface stain off the teeth, and that makes the teeth appear whiter than they are. OK, now can that whitening toothpaste, can that abrasive silica, can that damage the enamel? No, that cannot damage the enamel. What can damage the enamel is if you have bad brushing techniques. You have to be very careful. You have to have good brushing technique. But there's no damage done in whitening toothpastes. A lot of people do want to know, if I choose to have my teeth whitened in a dental office, will my insurance cover it? To the best of my knowledge, insurance companies will not cover anything cosmetic, and bleaching or whitening is a fully cosmetic procedure. So I don't think they cover any of it. So is it true that there are no side effects from teeth whitening? That's false. There are no permanent side effects to teeth whitening. There's a lot of research, a lot of studies being done. There are no negative effects that bleaching has long term on your teeth. However, some short-term effects, you can get the sensitivity and get a little irritation to the gums. It only lasts a day or two, and it goes away, and you're totally fine. OK, that's good to know. Thanks for all those tips. OK, that's it for this edition of teeth whitening myth busters. Let's recap. You can get professio