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When It Comes to Separating Myth from Fact, Consult Your Dentist

If you ask people what they would change about their teeth if they could, many people would say they wish their pearly whites were a little pearlier and whiter. Over time, food, beverages, certain habits, and simple aging can stain our teeth and leave them looking less brilliant than once they did. Fortunately, cosmetic dentistry has the answer—professional teeth whitening. But like most things, there are as many myths as there are facts out there, and we’ll do our best to separate them.

Myth #1: It Doesn’t Matter if I Get My Teeth Whitened Professionally

It’s true, there are plenty of at-home whitening products on the market, as well as products such as toothpaste and gum which claim to whiten teeth (these typically do not contain peroxide, the active ingredient in other whiteners). However, the whitening gel that your dentist uses is much more potent—enough so that you can begin to see tremendous results after just a few short treatments. At-home products will produce results much more slowly, and whitening toothpastes simply maintain the present whiteness of teeth.

Myth #2: The Procedure Is Potentially Harmful

This is tricky, because it’s true of anything if you do it improperly—even simply brushing your teeth! This is another reason why it pays to visit a practitioner of cosmetic dentistry to have the procedure done professionally. A trained dentist will know how to whiten your teeth safely, in a way that causes as little discomfort as possible. This includes creating a gel barrier between your teeth and gums, the latter of which could suffer tissue damage from careless exposure to peroxide. As for the myth that it can cause oral cancers, all studies on the subject have proven otherwise.

Myth #3: The Results Are Permanent

The bleaching agents included in teeth whitening gels do change and brighten the colour of your teeth, but they don’t safeguard your teeth from future stains. If you continue to consume red wine, coffee, tea, tomato sauce, or tobacco products, you could stain your freshly-whitened teeth all over again. If you decide to have the procedure done, consider committing to dietary and lifestyle changes that will help maintain the results.

Myth #4: You Can Whiten Crowns and Veneers

Unfortunately, the porcelain used in these cosmetic dentistry procedures is immune to the effects of hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide, the most common active ingredients in whiteners. Because these dental restorations are made to match the appearance of the surrounding teeth, this can lead to uneven colour. If you know that you intend to whiten your teeth in the future, discuss crowns and veneers with your dentist, who may make them several shades whiter in anticipation of your future smile.