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Teeth whitening is by far the #1 cosmetic dentistry procedure (estimates say it is around 100 million per year in USA alone) performed every day around the globe. There are many reasons for teeth whitening being so popular. A major reason is our desire to look more youthful. Teeth whitening can turn back the clock on your smile. The next reason and just as important is cost. Teeth whitening is one of the least expensive cosmetic dentistry procedures which allows it to be available to a wider range of patients. Teeth whitening might seem like a modern phenomena but it is not. Generations of people have been trying to brighten and whiten their smiles since the earliest days of civilization. Surprisingly, the basic ingredients used today have been around since early in the 19th century.

Marielaina Perrone DDS Teeth Whitening Las Vegas

Teeth Whitening Las Vegas

Earliest Teeth Whitening Attempts

The earliest attempts at teeth whitening were primitive to say the least. The earliest people on earth used sticks and thorns to attempt to clean their teeth. Civilization is what led to people wanting to look their best. Looking good with white teeth was considered a sign of wealth and possible nobility. The Roman empire and Egyptian empire were ahead of their times. The Romans used a paste for their teeth composed of goat’s milk and urine! While the Egyptians used pumice and wine vinegar. The Egyptians were heading in the right direction as vinegar can remove stains and pumice can smooth the surface. Around the 12th century, the medical doctors recommended a sage and salt rub for teeth whitening. By the 17th century, the local barber was called upon for dental advice. These barbers would offer services to use a metal file to roughen the surface of clients teeth and then paint on nitric acid. The idea is to roughen the surface so the nitric acid can stick and begin to remove staining. In the mid to late 18th century, oxalic acid was used for teeth whitening again by the medical community. I am sure by now you are horrified by these crude attempts at teeth whitening in ancient times. These techniques probably had limited success but caused maximum damage.

Modern Teeth Whitening Techniques

Luckily, dentistry has advanced and we have a better understanding of dental materials and dental techniques. There are various methods offered both in home and in the dental office. Below will be a review of the different teeth whitening methods available today to safely whiten your teeth.

Teeth Whitening Toothpastes. Cheapest method of teeth whitening but also the least effective with very limited teeth whitening results. There are many different teeth whitening toothpastes on the market today by various different brands. They all tout great results but in reality the results are highly variable from patient to patient. For some with light staining this method may work well enough to make you happy. While others with extensive staining they will see little to no benefit. But in the end, for a few pennies more it is worth a try as we are all brushing daily anyway!

Teeth Whitening Strips. This method is a bit more expensive than just using a teeth whitening toothpaste. These are sold over the counter at your local pharmacy or big box store. The active ingredient in teeth whitening strips is usually the same as professional teeth whitening products. However, the dosage and concentration is lowered for safety. Again these may work well for some but not so well for others. These are also harder to use as they have a bit of a learning curve with them. These teeth whitening strips must be placed evenly across all your teeth and cannot be applied to a single tooth that might need more help than the others. These have also been known to irritate the gum tissues if the placement is off or they move during use.

ProfessionaTeeth Whitening With Custom Fit Dental Trays. This is a personalized cosmetic dentistry procedure. Your dentist will evaluate your smile and create custom fir dental trays. These trays will be comfortable to wear but also evenly distribute teeth whitening gel across all teeth quite easily. This method also allows for isolation of just a few teeth if needed. These custom fit dental trays can be worn day or night usually for a period of 1-4 weeks. This option is flexible and provides excellent results. The only downside to this method vs the previous two is cost. This method will carry a higher cost but the results are far batter. Each patient will need to weigh the pros and cons of each method for what is best for their individual smile.

Teeth Whitening Performed By Your Dentist. This method carries the highest cost but also gives you the fastest, most effective results of all teeth whitening methods. This method is completed 30 minutes to an hour right in your dentist’s office. A special light and teeth whitening gel is used for this procedure. The teeth whitening gel is highly concentrated and is accelerated by the special teeth whitening light. This makes this method highly effective and very efficient. The main disadvantage is this comes with a higher cost but I am sure you can understand why.

Disadvantages Of Teeth Whitening

Tooth sensitivity and gum tissue irritation can occur in any of the teeth whitening methods listed above. If either occurs it is best to contact your dentist. They will probably recommend a visit to office to discuss options or advise to cease using the teeth whitening products for a day or two to let things settle down. Gum tissue irritation and teeth sensitivity is generally reversible. Your dentist may recommend a sensitive teeth toothpaste like sensodyne or a topical gel (orajel) to relieve gum tissue irritation.

Maintenance Tips Of Teeth Whitening

Teeth whitening is highly effective but staining will occur again over time. Teeth whitening is not a one and done dental procedure. Touch ups will be needed over time. Below are some dental tips to maintain teeth whitening longer:

-Brush after every meal or at very least rinse mouth with water after eating and drinking.

-Floss to remove plaque foods trapped between the teeth

-Following teeth whitening it is important to limit staining foods and drink for about 2-3 days.

-Use a straw to drink fluids that can cause staining of your teeth.

-Lose the Habits like smoking and drinking which are known to stain our teeth

History Of Teeth Whitening Conclusion

Teeth whitening using modern dental materials has proven to safe and highly effective in whitening our smiles. The limited drawbacks can be overcome and should not hinder the desire for a whiter, more youthful smile.



Whiter teeth have been a hallmark of youth and health for many years. Over the last 15 years or so, many different methods and products have come to market to allow everyone to achieve the goal of a whiter smile if they so choose. There are so many different methods it is not always easy to choose the one that is right for you. Below you will find a detailed description of each type of teeth whitening to help make your choice easier.

Teeth Whitening Methods

The various methods all have the same goal in common, to make your teeth whiter. Some are done on your own and others are done under the supervision of a dentist.

Teeth Whitening Toothpaste ($5-$12 per tube). This method is probably the cheapest and easiest to use. It is easy because it is something we do every day at least twice a day….tooth brushing. Many toothpastes now incorporate teeth whitening agents to help you achieve a whiter, brighter smile. Unfortunately, teeth whitening tooth pastes have their drawbacks. The results are very variable from person to person. If you have very deep staining, these toothpastes may not work as well as for someone who has very light staining. However, as mentioned earlier, we are brushing anyway, so why not give it a try and see what the results may bring for your particular smile.

Teeth Whitening Strips/ Gel Pens ($20-$55 per box). This method costs a little bit more and can give very good results as well. You can buy a box of Whitening Strips, gel pens or Trays over-the-counter at your local pharmacy. Check the expiration date on this product as it does matter. The active teeth whitening ingredients in the strips and gels are the same as dentists use in their professional teeth whitening procedures however, the concentration of the teeth whitening agent in the store bought products is at a much lower level. The lower concentration may not get your teeth to whiten as much as you’d like. The other drawback is the application of the strips and gels. The strips must be placed across all the teeth, and cannot be directly applied to one that is stained more. The fit is not great, and they may irritate gum tissues. The gels can be messy, and may be uncomfortable to swallow.

Teeth Whitening W/ Custom Trays ($200-$500). This method is done through your dentist‘s office. The trays are made to custom fit your mouth comfortably and allow for an even distribution of the teeth whitening gel across all teeth or only applied to specific teeth. The trays can be worn day or night (even while sleeping) over a period of one to 4 weeks, and are very convenient for busy schedules. The other advantage is that this type of teeth whitening will use stronger whitening agent. The main disadvantage to this type of teeth whitening vs the at home techniques is that it costs more, and sensitivity may be greater, but the results are better.

In Office Teeth Whitening ($300-$800). This is the highest cost, fastest, and generally most effective Teeth Whitening option. This procedure is performed by the dentist using a special light and teeth whitening gel. This type of whitening can deliver fantastic results in as little as 1/2 to one hour. This technique utilizes a highly concentrated whitening agent  accelerated by heat and light  to speed up the Teeth Whitening process. The disadvantages are, you have no idea what the results will be in the one hour, and the higher cost of  Teeth Whitening.

Teeth Whitening Conclusion

As you can see above there are many choices available for teeth whitening. Discuss the various options for teeth whitening with your dentist to see what would work best for you. Teeth whitening is a rapidly growing trend. Be financially and proceduraly aware when choosing the best option for your smile.

 



For many of us, whiter teeth are a sign of youth, beauty, and vitality. If your teeth look dull and lifeless, you may lose some self confidence causing you to miss out on precious moments in life. As we age, our teeth will lose some of their natural whiteness, changing instead to a yellowish, even brownish/gray tinge. This occurs from our daily habits like drinking coffee, possibly smoking, or drinking red wine.

We are bombarded by magazine and television ads displaying models with perfectly white teeth. After awhile, you begin to wonder whether you can have whiter, brighter teeth too? Luckily, there are many options out there to do just that. The traditional way has been to go to the dentist and have them professionally whitened under controlled conditions. Today, we have other options like teeth whitening toothpastes. Are these toothpastes effective at whitening our teeth?

What Is Special About Teeth Whitening Toothpastes?

Most of us use toothpaste every day just to maintain our dental hygiene. It is a product we are all very familiar with. Manufactures have now found a way to add an extra element to your favorite toothpastes allowing the addition of teeth whitening materials into the mix to give you an added benefit.  Some are more abrasive to help remove surface stains, some have peroxide and other additive ingredients to actually allow for some deeper whitening to occur. It should be noted that teeth whitening toothpastes do work, but they will NOT whiten your teeth as effectively as your dentist can. Also, each individual’s results will vary.

Teeth whitening toothpastes commonly contain the following ingredients:

Hydrogen peroxide. The same teeth whitening ingredient used in most teeth whitening strips. This is found in the new Colgate Optic White toothpaste.

-Sodium Hydroxide. This is another ingredient used to whiten teeth. Crest 3D white toothpaste utilizes this as it’s main teeth whitening agent.

Sodium Tripolyphosphate. Do not be scared off by the long name. This chemical is effective in removing stains from the enamel on your teeth.

Blue Covarine. This chemical is present in some teeth whitening toothpaste. Blue covarine has the ability to adhere to the surface of teeth creating an optical illusion that can make our teeth appear less yellow.

Abrasives. These abrasives, such as baking soda, will provide a perfect cleansing and polishing on the teeth surface and over time will remove light stains that make our teeth appear yellowish or brown.

When used twice a day, teeth whitening toothpaste generally takes from two to six weeks to make teeth appear whiter and brighter. Teeth whitening toothpastes that contain blue covarine can have an almost immediate effect on your smile.

Teeth Whitening Toothpaste Conclusion

Americans spend over $1.5 billion on toothpaste per year and it is a rapidly growing market. Many of the toothpastes have become quite specialized, especially those geared towards teeth whitening. But do teeth whitening toothpastes really work? The simple answer is yes, but to what degree?. If your teeth are brown and discolored, it will not work as effectively as a professional teeth whitening. The difference being, that the dentist uses chemicals specifically designed to whiten teeth (and applied under very controlled conditions) whereas many of the teeth whitening toothpastes on the market use much lower concentrations of these whitening agents, or none at all. Don’t get overly frustrated if using teeth whitening toothpastes don’t do much for you. They are helpful in some mild degree of whitening, but will not give you the super white smile that actual professional whitening will. They are best used as an adjunct to a professional whitening, to help keep your teeth whiter and brighter longer, or for younger people to brighten up an already nice smile. Teeth whitening toothpastes are a cost effective way to brighten your smile, discontinue use if they begin to cause sensitivity.

It is always recommended you see your dentist for professional cleanings and dental examinations. This is a perfect time to discuss teeth whitening options and what method would work best for you. Teeth whitening can be a very personalized choice and each program can be tailored to each patient’s needs and expectations. Find out today how to get your teeth whiter and brighter.