How to whiten your teeth at home

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Discover how teeth whitening products work, how they differ and how to successfully choose the best whitening system for you!

Transcript Hi, I'm Katrina Szish for Howdini. Today we're going to find out how to choose a whitening system for your teeth. To do that, I'm joined by cosmetic dentist Doctor Brian Kantor. Nice to see you.

Nice to see you.

So everybody wants a whiter smile. But first we want to know, is this safe?

It is safe. There's been a lot of research, a lot of studies. There is no damage to the enamel. The only thing that could possibly happen is you can temporarily have some sensitivity from the bleach or it can irritate the gums if it hits the gums. But it's very temporary. And it goes away. And you're totally fine.

Now, is everyone a candidate for teeth whitening?

Everyone is not a candidate for teeth whitening. You must see your dentist first before you start whitening. Because if you have a lot of dental work, such as veneers, crowns, bridges, this porcelain will not change color with the bleach. And your real teeth will. So if you get a great result from bleaching, then your teeth will be different colors--

Ooh, multi-color--

--and doesn't look right.

--mouth, that's not good.

So it defeats the purpose of bleaching. And if you have a lot of cavities or broken down teeth, you're also not a candidate for bleaching. Because if you have decay, the bleach will get into the tooth and will cause extreme sensitivity. So you should see a dentist before you start bleaching.

OK, if I am a candidate, how do I do it?

It's a great question. Everyone wants whiter teeth now. And they're really three main ways you can bleach your teeth. Let's first talk about what makes one bleaching product better than another. So two factors determine how good a bleaching product is. One is the percentage of hydrogen peroxide, which is the bleaching agent in the bleaching products. Two is how well and how long that bleaching product remains isolated on your teeth.

So the first way we can bleach our teeth is professionally done in a dental office with a laser. It's the highest concentration of hydrogen peroxide and remains isolated on your teeth for the longest amount of time and very well. They actually secure the bleach to your teeth so it doesn't get over any other soft tissue. The next way is a dentist can give you take-home custom-made trays. Now, these take-home trays have also a high percentage of hydrogen peroxide. And it remains isolated on your teeth for a long duration of time. The third way you can whiten your teeth is with over-the-counter products. These products, first of all, are much cheaper, much more affordable than in-office whitening procedures.

Good for being on a budget.

Yes.

Yeah.

And they also work. The best way to pick a bleaching product over the counter is to see which product remains isolated on your teeth long enough. So Whitestrips is great. Because there's a technology that actually keeps the bleaching product isolated on your teeth. Because that will actually allow the bleach to remain on your teeth and allow the bleaching process to work.

OK, fantastic. OK, now that my teeth are finally whiter, how do I keep them whiter?

Yes, maintenance, it's just like having your hair dyed blond. Once it's dyed blond, you have to maintain that color. It's the same thing with the color of your teeth. Once you bleach your teeth, it's not going to remain white forever, especially if you're having a lot of coffee or red wine. That will stain your teeth. You have to maintain using over-the-counter products, like the Whitestrips, or using whitening toothpaste or a whitening rinse. These all will help maintain the color of your teeth.

OK, now, I want to get back. You mentioned whitening toothpastes. Are they safe?

Yes, absolutely. Now, just to clarify, there's a difference between whitening and bleaching.

Oh, OK.

So a lot of the products over the counter, such as this whitening toothpaste is a whitening agent. What a whitening agent is is it will remove surface stains to make your teeth appear whiter than they are. That's different from bleaching. A bleaching product will have hydrogen peroxide in it. And the oxygen from the hydrogen peroxide will oxidize these long chain stains and breaks these chains up intrinsically. And that actually bleaches the tooth, making the teeth lighter than they actually were. So whitening will make your teeth appear whiter by removing surface stains. And bleaching will actually make your teeth whiter than they were.

OK, got it. So if you are a coffee drinker or a red wine drinker, if you look for whitening products that will help to remove those stains that are caused by those--

Yes.

--products--

And whitening toothpastes, how it works is there's silica particles. So what that does is acts as a minor abrasive to actually remove the surface stains and make your teeth appear whiter.

OK.

And they're great. And there's no harm to using them. As long as you use a soft toothbrush, you are not going to damage your teeth.

Do whitening rinses really work?

Yes, again, that's a whitening agent. What it's going to do, such as Crest 3D White, this is going to actually remove surface stains. But it's not going to bleach your teeth. It's going to remove surface stains to make your teeth appear whiter.

OK, fantastic. Well, I'm ready to go out and get a fabulously white smile. Thank you so much, Doctor Kantor.

Anytime.

So it is possible to get whiter teeth either at your dentist or at home with a whitening system. But remember there is some maintenance to be done. So let's recap. Consult your dentist to determine which solution is best for you, professional bleaching at your dentist's office, purchasing an at-home professional teeth whitening kit from your dentist, or using a professional-level over-the-counter teeth whitening product. Regardless of the whitening solution, keep your teeth whiter by using specially formulated toothpaste, mouthwash, and floss in between your treatments.

On behalf of Crest 3D White, I'm Katrina Szish for Howdini. For more information, check out the website.
meet theexpert
  • Dr. Brian Kantor

    Dr. Brian Kantor Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Brian Kantor is a cosmetic dentist in the greater NYC area. He has been on the forefront of the cosmetic dental revolution for years, working on celebrity smiles and confidence concerns with the latest approaches and technologies. more about this expert »

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