As with many other dental procedures, there are a variety of myths floating around about how teeth whitening works and its overall long-term and short-term affects on patients’ oral health. Experienced teeth whitening dentists in Toronto and Etobicoke can dispel a lot of these falsehoods that are masquerading as facts. The next time you visit a local teeth whitening clinic near you, ask your dentist for clarification on any uncertainties you might have about the best teeth whitening options for you. In the meantime, though, continue reading to learn about some of the most popular myths and facts about teeth whitening.
9 Myths about Teeth Whitening
Here are 9 of the most widely circulated myths about teeth whitening that dentists hear in Toronto and the GTA.
Whitening Harms Teeth
Some people mistakenly believe that whitening or bleaching teeth breaks down the natural layer of enamel on the surface of each tooth, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. The reality is that enamel on the surface of the teeth naturally wears thin over time as you age, but eating acidic foods and consuming teeth-staining substances hastens the process and reveals the naturally yellow dentin inside each tooth. The only way to whiten teeth once the porous enamel wears thin is by using professional-grade whitening gels that can only be administered by a dentist.
Teeth Whitening Is Permanent
It would be impossible for teeth whitening to be permanent because we’re constantly consuming beverages and foods that counteract its application. At best, teeth whitening can last about 6 months to 2 years depending on how well you take care of your teeth and what you eat and drink. On top of that, every patient’s ideal level of whitening is relative to their oral health and genetic predisposition. Keeping your teeth white requires regular maintenance and ideally, you should be getting a dental cleaning, checkup, and whitening at least every 3-6 months.
Teeth Whitening Is Painful
This is only partially true in very specific cases. Whether you experience any pain or sensitivity during or after a teeth whitening procedure depends on your overall dental health. If you already have sensitive teeth or an infection prior to having your teeth whitened, then you’re more likely to experience some level of pain or discomfort. But, for the most part, teeth whitening is relatively painless. If you do experience any pain or sensitivity, contact your dentist as there are treatments they can do to help.
Teeth Whitening Replaces Oral Care
Absolutely not. Teeth whitening doesn’t replace oral care and it’s highly recommended that you don’t buy into this myth. Teeth whitening is strictly a cosmetic procedure that mainly removes surface and intrinsic stains from your teeth. That doesn’t give you a free pass to stop brushing your teeth, flossing, using mouthwash, or doing anything else that keeps your mouth and teeth healthy. In fact, the less you take care of your oral health, the more often you’ll likely have to get your teeth whitened.
People of All Ages Can Have Their Teeth Whitened
Unless it’s absolutely necessary, it’s generally not recommended for young children to undergo any teeth whitening procedures whether they’re professionally administered or done at home, especially if they still have their baby teeth. Even at-home teeth whitening kits and toothpastes contain abrasive chemicals and other ingredients that weaken the surface enamel of the teeth. Generally, it is best to be over 18 years of age before whitening is done.
Teeth Whitening Destroys Tooth Enamel
While it’s true that the whitening gels used by your dentist open up the pores in your tooth enamel and penetrate it to get to the stains below the surface of your tooth, the enamel itself is left completely intact. The pores in your tooth enamel usually close back up within a few days during which time your dentist will advise you to refrain from ingesting acidic and teeth-staining foods as much as possible. If you can’t forgo your coffee or tea, they might advise you to drink it through a straw for a few days to avoid contact with your newly whitened teeth.
Teeth Whitening Increases Sensitivity
It’s easy to see why this myth is perpetuated since people believe that teeth whitening wears down and weakens enamel. Weakened enamel does cause tooth sensitivity, but it has nothing to do with getting your teeth whitened. Since we’ve already established that teeth whitening doesn’t actually harm the tooth enamel at all, you can safely conclude that it also doesn’t cause tooth sensitivity.
The Teeth Whitening Laser Is Harmful to Your Health
In actuality, there’s no laser being used to whiten your teeth; rather, it’s an LED or UV light that facilitates the penetration of the whitening agents through the enamel. This light is completely harmless and necessary because it allows the whitening agents to work thoroughly. You can even get it with over-the-counter teeth whitening kits. Of course, the one used by your dentist is much more potent and effective.
You Must Give Up Teeth-Staining Substances after Whitening
Once again, this isn’t true. It’s recommended that you try to avoid ingesting things like coffee, tea, wine, or any other teeth-staining substances for a few days directly after having your teeth whitened, but that doesn’t mean you have to give them up permanently. Within the first week or so following a teeth whitening procedure, the whitening agents are still actively working to remove stains, which means indulging in teeth-staining substances will counteract their efforts. It’s best to wait a few days before returning to your regular eating and drinking habits to let the pores in your enamel close back up.
At Princeview Dental Group, we offer a variety of teeth whitening services in Toronto. For over 20 years, our clinic has been in the heart of the Kingsway and our dental staff can answer all of your questions regarding different teeth whitening procedures and help determine which options will work best for each individual patient. For more information about our clinic or to book an appointment with us, please call (416) 231-4562.