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WHITENING WITH OVER THE 
COUNTER PRODUCTS

Bright Ideas

Even the best whitening treatments are only as good as the person using them.  Preventing mishaps is a mater of keeping a few simple tips in mind:

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Start clean.  Whitening formulas take unevenly to dirty teeth.  Tartar creates a barrier that bleaching gel can not penetrate.  If you don't have a professional cleaning first, you will end up with yellow halos anywhere you have buildup.

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Be realistic.  We all have a limit to how white our teeth can be.

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Know when to stop. Using kits for longer than prescribed time won't yield whiter teeth, in fact it may damage teeth.  Over saturating the teeth with peroxide can break down the dentin and gum tissues.

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Don't drink and bleach.  Red wine, tea, coffee, soy sauce, & tobacco will color teeth.

Warning: Whitening with Over the Counter Products

Over the counter bleaching kits, whitening salons, Internet sales of bleaching kits or mall based whitening kits sales are allowing consumers to skimp on their oral health.  Since these products are classified as "cosmetics" there are less stringent guidelines and the active  ingredient is often not even listed.  Currently there is little data on their effectiveness.

    Any process not supervised by a dentist is inappropriate.  Clinical studies show that home bleaching can:

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aggravate periodontal disease

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cause tooth sensitivity to temperature change 

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irritation of oral mucosa. 

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increased ingestion of the bleaching product due to ill fitting trays

These are conditions only your dentist can help you prevent, care for and manage.

     Kits that include impression materials for consumers to take their own impressions can lead to:

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damage of fillings

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demineralization teeth

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not custom fitted to the margins of the gum line

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can not find exposed root surfaces, leaky fillings, decay or cracks in your teeth leading to pain during whitening

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etch teeth

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inaccurate impressions 

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damage to crowns

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poorly adapted trays

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product ingestions

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ineffective whitening results

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damage to bridges

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danger of gagging or aspirating impression material  

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may contain citric or phosphoric acid which is a concern

     The infection control ineffectiveness of taking impressions by these salons or mall businesses can lead to spread of disease.  Consumers are often give unwrapped, unsanitized trays for fitting which are than taken back and tossed in a drawer full of trays without sterilization until the correct tray size is found.  No sterilization, no gloves or correct technique are used to meet OSHA or CDC regulations.
Source: ***An Update on Tooth Whitening, Woman Dentist Journal, pg 10-22, Jan/Feb 2003
AGD Impact March 2001

Is Teeth Whitening Addictive?

Are you addicted to tooth whitening?WebMD.com raises the question of “whitening addiction,” citing those who have a narcissistic compulsion to maintain their youth by overuse of tooth whitening products, both OTC and professional. Signs of whitening abuse include people who seek to get their teeth to a "Clorox white” shade until their teeth are almost transparent, yet do not seem to realize their teeth are already white. It is unlikely that damage to the surface of the tooth will be caused before the sensitivity occurs. He cautions against bleaching for people under age 18 as there is greater opportunity for hypersensitivity. Dentists need to partner with patients to set realistic expectations and avoid overuse of whitening products.

February 06, 2008

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