Thursday, May 28, 2020 | ePaper

Common myths about teeth-whitening busted

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Dr Meghna Dang :
Asparkling white smile not only helps to enhance confidence and self-esteem but also improves one’s appearance dramatically. As a result, teeth-whitening treatments are among the most popular aesthetic dental procedures, in demand today. However, there still exists a plethora of myths and misconceptions about teeth-whitening, which can play a role in causing severe, often irreparable damage, to one’s teeth, not to mention wastage of money.
To separate fact from fiction, the following are the most common myths regarding teeth whitening!
Myth-1: Over-the-counter teeth-whitening products are as effective as treatments at a dental office
A number of scientific studies have found that sodium chlorite, an active ingredient in most over-the-counter teeth-whitening products, could significantly reduce the hardness of teeth in the presence of an acid, and make them susceptible to surface abrasions in the future. While hydrogen peroxide is the standard chemical used in dental practices, the obscurity regarding the chemical composition of most over-the-counter and online products, make them extremely risky. Several of these products have, in fact, contained dangerous chemicals, including toxic or banned substances, which can severely burn gums, or irreparably damage the teeth.
On the other hand, a certified dentist is trained specifically to take into account potential or existing health problems and side effects, including gum disease, and the impact that a teeth-whitening procedure can have, to select a product that is as effective as it is safe.
Myth-2: You can never drink coffee or wine again after a teeth-whitening procedure
While patients are always advised to avoid foods and beverages that cause staining, such as red wine and coffee, it is not permanent at all! Dentists recommend avoiding them only for the first few days following the treatment, as the pores in one’s teeth remain open during the period, with the chemical reaction taking place for the next few days.  
Myth-3: In-office teeth whitening takes a long time (1 to 2 hours)
When it comes to teeth whitening, the time needed for the procedure depends on the process being used. In fact, procedures like the Biolase eZlase teeth whitening system and Diode Laser-activated Bleaching system allow one to have a healthy, white smile, in a matter of just 20 minutes!
Myth-4: Teeth-whitening is guaranteed to give you the whitest teeth
The effectiveness of a teeth-whitening procedure actually varies from patient to patient, depending on the type of stains, the thickness of the enamel, the tooth structure, and the age of the patient. Hence, in order to have clarity regarding the expected results, one should always consult a dentist first, to have realistic expectations and choose the most appropriate procedure.
Myth-5: Teeth-whitening makes teeth weak and sensitive
The truth is that like any medical procedure, teeth-whitening is also accompanied by a number of potential risks, including sensitivity, gum irritation, or even nerve damage. However, having the procedure carried out by a licensed professional dental health provider can help avoid or minimize those risks significantly. In addition, studies have also shown that the latest teeth-whitening technology, such as whitening gels activated by diode lasers; shows little to no surface alterations, damage, or sensitivity, in comparison to most conventional whitening products.
Teeth-whitening continues to be one of the easiest, quickest, and simplest ways of enhancing one's smile. However, in order to ensure the most effective and least harmful results, it is always best to consult one’s dentist, to understand the potential side-effects, if any, and decide upon the procedure that is most suitable for the individual.
(Dr Meghna Dang is a Prosthodontist, Implantologist)

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the
doctors are their independent professional judgment and we do not take any responsibility for the accuracy of their views. This should not be considered as a substitute for physician's advice. Please consult your treating physician for more details.

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