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Teeth Whitening Tips

Consumer demand for teeth whitening procedures has increased by more than 300 percent since 1996 according to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry.

Twenty-one percent of dentists say teeth whitening is the fastest growing segment of their practice, according to the American Dental Association, and the American Academy of General Dentistry reports that 93 percent of all dentists offer teeth whitening and bleaching procedures for consumers seeking that Brittany Spears-like 100-watt smile.

With a nod to the shining blockbuster smile, HealthSaver offers these top tips on achieving brighter, whiter teeth:

  1. Dentist Supervised vs. Over-the-Counter
    Home kits, strips and whiteners are popular, but the results are fleeting. While bleaching is safe, it requires a dentist's supervision to ensure proper results, according to the Academy of General Dentistry.

    Dentist-supervised procedures are successful 90 percent of the time, and the brighter smile lasts from one to five years, rather than just months. Surveys have found that over-the-counter whiteners did not whiten teeth as much as dentist procedures.

  2. Stains, Stains, Go Away
    Many stains can be removed with teeth whitening procedures. Superficial stains that cause teeth darkening or dulling include coffee, tea, red wine, smoking and even some foods, such as pasta sauces.
  3. Teeth Talk ... Common Procedures
    Dentists use three procedures -- in-office bleaching systems, laser bleaching and at-home bleaching (patients use customized mouth guards filled with bleaching agents, to be worn while sleeping for 10-14 days.)
  4. Brush Up On Your Dentist
    To ensure that you have an experienced dentist, ask for photos of previous work and make sure the dentist offers a variety of options.
  5. White Bright
    How bright will your teeth get? You choose. A dentist will show you "shade cards" similar to those used in choosing paints. Generally, the longer you bleach your teeth, the brighter they become.
  6. Staying On The White Path
    With teeth whiteners flooding the market, an important consideration for all products is the American Dental Association's Seal of Acceptance. That seal is stamped on some 1,300 products, and in order to earn the seal, the manufacturer must undergo stringent testing for safety and effectiveness.
  7. Brush, Brush, Brush
    Once you achieve that effervescent smile, the best prescription is prevention. A solid oral hygiene regimen of brushing and flossing regularly removes surface stains and improves dental health to keep that bright smile shining.

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