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7 Misconceptions About Teeth Whitening

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Whitening your teeth gives off a great first impression, so it’s not surprising that teeth whitening treatments are all the rage today. But with so much conflicting information about teeth whitening and so many options for professional and at-home treatments, it’s hard to know what is true and which teeth whitening procedure is the best one for you.

There are a number of common misconceptions about teeth whitening. Some of these myths are:

Myth #1: Teeth whitening causes nerve damage.
Truth: When done correctly at home or under the supervision of a licensed professional, whitening your teeth has absolutely no effect on the roots, gums, or inside of the teeth. This myth stems from unregulated levels of hydrogen peroxide being used in other countries that can burn nerve endings and pulp.

Myth #2: Teeth whitening treatments are painful.
Truth: While the whitening process may cause your gums and teeth to be a bit more sensitive, the procedure is not painful itself. Hydrogen peroxide in the teeth whitener causes the sensitivity, sometimes for 24 hours after the procedure.

Myth #3: Teeth whitening will keep your smile white forever.
Truth: While whitening your teeth will brighten your smile, teeth will continuously yellow during the aging process, so touch-ups are recommended to maintain the whitening.

Myth #4: Professional whitening treatments are better than at-home whiteners.
Truth: Both whitening your teeth in the dentist office and at home can produce great results if done correctly. One benefit of having the procedure done in a professional environment is the ability to ensure your teeth will respond well to a whitening treatment. Plus, it’s typically a faster process in the dentist office. At home, whitening strips or gel treatments are gradually strengthened so that your teeth don’t become overly sensitive during the whitening process.

Myth #5: Teeth whitening damages enamel.
Truth: Although in the past this was a concern associated with teeth whitening, recent studies by The Journal of American Dental Association state that, in fact, teeth whitening treatments do not increase the chances of damaging tooth enamel.

Myth #6: Teeth whitening will give you an instantly gorgeous movie-star smile.
Truth: Real life does not have PhotoShop, so the shade of your teeth isn’t in fact bright white, as seen in commercials and product advertising all over television and magazines. The actual color is either a shade of gray, yellow or brown, not naturally white. Teeth whitening can remove stains from your teeth, but it won’t change the overall tone of your smile. In fact, over-bleaching your teeth can cause an enhanced, unnatural, glow-in-the-dark smile.

Myth #7: Teeth whitening works for everyone.
Truth: Unfortunately, some people are not able to have their teeth whitened. Anyone under the age of 16 and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding shouldn’t have the procedure done. The same goes for anyone who has sensitive teeth, is allergic to peroxide, or has gum disease, cavities, poor tooth enamel, exposed roots, or veneers or other teeth restorations.

So don’t listen to the naysayers and know fact from fiction. Whitening your teeth is safe if done properly. Just don’t expect a Hollywood smile that lasts forever.

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