Teeth Whitening Los Angeles
Dr. Shervin Louie your Los Angeles dentist says there’s a right way and a wrong way to bleach your teeth and extreme usage of teeth bleaching products could harm your health.
Is the quest to getting your pearly whites pearlier driving you mad? Dental health professionals have a new diagnosis for your condition — and it’s called bleachorexia.
Bleachorexia is the term that the specialists have coined to describe an addictive obsession with bleaching their teeth to the point that it’s affecting their dental heath.
If you have bleachorexia, you probably don’t need a 12-step program — but you may need to set more realistic expectations about your teeth-whitening products. According to Dr. Shervin Louie, realistically, bleaching teeth only removes stains.Your teeth will not be any whiter than they were before the stains changed your natural tooth color.
Teeth naturally become stained over time from products like coffee, tea, and tobacco and may also come from red wine, sodas, and certain types of antibiotics or too much fluoride.
So how do whitening products work? Teeth whitening systems rely on the bleaching agent peroxide (a chemical that can make your teeth look brighter). Peroxide works best on yellow-colored teeth, not as well on brown teeth, and not well at all on gray-colored teeth. Teeth discolored by fluoride or antibiotics also tend to be resistant to bleaching.
Teeth Whitening Systems: A Bleachorexic’s Drug?
The American Dental Association (ADA) has approved the following bleaching products:
In-office teeth bleaching. Also called chair-side bleaching, this office procedure involves applying a protective gel or rubber shield to your gums, and then applying a bleaching agent to your teeth. Special lights may be used to speed up the process. Each visit may take from 30 minutes to 1 hour.
At-home bleaching. Dr. Louie can supply you with a kit to use at home that includes a bleaching solution in gel form and a custom-made mouth guard to hold the gel in place. The mouth guard usually is worn once a day or overnight for two weeks. Over-the-counter kits are also available, but they are not ADA-approved.
Teeth whitening toothpastes. If you are hoping for a super white smile that comes from super whitening toothpaste, you may be waiting a long time. ADA-approved whitening toothpastes only whiten your teeth by keeping them cleaner. They do not actually bleach your teeth.
When Does Bleaching Go Too Far?
Done right, bleaching your teeth may help you attain that smile you’ve set your heart on. But can it harm? It can if you overdo it. Although ADA-approved systems are safe as long as you follow instructions, bleaching your teeth excessively can actually cause them to get translucent, making them look even less white.
These risks are also involved with obsessive bleaching:
- Hypersensitivity. Teeth bleaching can make your teeth more sensitive. According to Dr. Louie, his is the most common complaint he usually receives. “Your teeth can become sensitive to hot and cold.” But, he says, hypersensitivity does usually go away over time.
- Oral irritation. The gums, palate, and throat can become irritated from the bleach, and some people also get nauseous from swallowing some of the solution. These side effects also subside after you stop using the bleach.
- Tooth enamel erosion. If you use a bleaching kit for too long or bleach too frequently, it’s possible to wear away the outer coating of your teeth. This is just one more reason to stick with an ADA-approved teeth whitening system under the watchful eye of a dental health professional.
The Right Way to Whiten Your Teeth
First is to choose your teeth whitening system carefully. Dr. Shervin Louie your Los Angeles dentist will direct you the system or bleach that are ADA-approved to lower your risks. “How long you bleach depends on what concentration of peroxide you use. Concentrations can range between 15 and 35 percent. The higher the concentration, the less time you need to use it.”
Once you have finished the teeth whitening process, your pearly whites should stay white — until you re-stain them. Treat your teeth like you would white clothes: If you want them to stay white, keep your diet white. That means avoiding coffee and tea, for starters. To avoid re-staining, brush your teeth well after eating or drinking these foods.
If your teeth were discolored by antibiotics or fluoride, or if teeth whiteners have not been successful for you, Dr. Louie can talk to you about porcelain veneers. These shell-like coverings can be bonded over your teeth — but expect a hefty price tag.
Most of all, be realistic about the results of teeth whitening. “A good rule of thumb is that if your teeth are whiter than the whites of your eyes, it doesn’t look natural,” Dr. Shervin Louie advised.