Brighter, whiter smile

Whitening procedures and products can help restore a whiter smile. But there’s a dark side to whitening your teeth, according to the Pennsylvania Dental Association. Certain tooth whitening procedures being done by nondentists at salons, spas, and even shopping malls may not be what’s right for you.


The association says to have a thorough exam performed by a licensed dentist before having any tooth whitening procedure. You may have problems with some of the solutions especially if you have many fillings, crowns, and extremely dark stains.


After a thorough exam, your dentist can determine if bleaching is right for you. The following are common treatment options your dentist may recommend:

•  Prescription bleaching kits. These are dispensed by a licensed dentist and contain peroxides that will bleach the tooth enamel. Gel whiteners are placed in a tray similar to a mouth guard. By obtaining the bleaching solution from your dentist, he or she can make a custom-fitted tray specifically designed to fit your teeth. Poorly fitting trays can irritate your gums and cause tissue burning.

•  Zoom whitening. Also known as power whitening, this is a high concentration of hydrogen peroxide gel coupled with a high-intensity light used to whiten the teeth. This in-office procedure takes about one hour. The teeth whitening lasts about three years.

•  Whitening toothpaste. This will not change the natural color of teeth, but some contain a special chemical or polishing agent to help remove stains from the tooth surface.

This website is not meant to substitute for expert medical advice or treatment. Follow your doctor’s or health care provider’s advice if it differs from what is given in this guide.


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