Have you thought about having your teeth whitened? If so, you’re not alone. Americans are increasingly interested in teeth whitening services. According to an American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry survey, most cosmetic dentists say teeth whitening is their most popular procedure.
Professional teeth whitening can be more effective than some over-the-counter methods.
Over-the-counter methods can work and are a good choice for many, but often don’t work as well for long-lasting or serious staining as the teeth whitening treatment a dentist can provide.
Before you decide which option is best for you, consider these common myths and facts about teeth whitening, as well as the benefits of teeth whitening by a dental professional.
Myth #1: Natural, at-home teeth whitening methods are just as safe as professional teeth whitening.
You may have read articles about natural teeth whitening solutions that you can make at home. From activated charcoal to apple cider vinegar, many people claim that it’s possible to whiten their teeth with products or foods they normally use at home.
However, these concoctions aren’t always useful and can sometimes be dangerous to your oral health. The American Dental Association has not approved the use of charcoal in teeth whitening as it can damage enamel –– the outer layer of your teeth that can’t be replaced.
Some people also claim certain foods are effective teeth whitening agents, but too much of some foods can be harmful to your teeth. For example, some people think mixing with baking powder is an effective teeth whitening method. While lemons have nutritional benefits as part of a healthy diet, this harsh combination can damage your enamel, exposing your teeth to sensitivity and cavities.
Dentists can safely administer effective teeth whitening treatments. They use a protective gel or rubber shield to protect your gums from bleach. Dentists can also use desensitizing products during teeth whitening procedures and prescribe special toothpaste for tooth sensitivity afterwards.
Myth #2: Over-the-counter whitening products are just as effective as professional teeth whitening.
While safer for your teeth than those “natural teeth whitening solutions” described above, whitening products you can buy at your local drugstore may not be as effective as professional teeth whitening depending on the condition of your teeth. Whitening strips and whitening toothpaste can be a good temporary fix, but not a long-term solution to stained teeth. Since many stains go deeper than the tooth’s surface, whitening toothpastes also may not be more effective for long-term whitening than regular toothpastes.
Plus, these products can take weeks to show results. Dentists, on the other hand, use stronger bleaching agents to go beyond surface stains and will give you a whiter smile in one appointment rather than waiting weeks for whitening strips or toothpaste to take effect.
Myth #3: Professional teeth whitening is too expensive.
With so many affordable over-the-counter teeth whitening products available, it can be tempting to rely solely on those methods. But they are temporary, and it can be costly to continue purchasing these products month after month.
Instead, opt for a dental insurance plan that includes teeth whitening. While not all dental insurance plans cover teeth whitening, TruAssure’s Choice and Choice Plus plans for individuals and families do.* This makes teeth whitening treatment much more affordable than paying out-of-pocket.
Now that you know myth from fact when it comes to teeth whitening, you can make the best decision so that you and your smile can shine brighter this summer.
*The Choice plan is not available in Ohio. All plans not available in all states. Visit truassure.com to see what plans are available in your state.