Jan 13, 2023

Tooth Whitening Demystified

Is the Hollywood white smile realistic to achieve? Is it safe to whiten teeth? What's the best way to navigate the myriad of tooth whitening products and options available?

Tooth colour is affected by genetics, age and the accumulation of stains acquired from the use of tobacco products and the consumption of certain foods or drinks. In addition, the perception of tooth colour is affected by skin tone and make-up.

In the quest for a brighter smile two types of products are used: surface whiteners or tooth bleaches.

Surface Whiteners:
These products help to remove surface stains only and do not lighten the tooth from the inside. These products include whitening toothpastes, charcoal or activated charcoal toothpastes, purple toothpastes, chewing gum, and professional cleaning (scaling and polishing). Please be cautious! In order to remove stains on teeth, a lot of over-the-counter products can be abrasive on tooth enamel and damage the surface of your teeth.

Tooth Bleaches:
The active ingredients in these products pass into the structure of teeth to break down internal stain deep down. Most of these products are peroxide based and can be used both in the dental office or at home.

In-Office Tooth Whitening

Teeth whitening done in a dental office can get teeth brighter faster. The peroxide-based bleaching gel used is usually much stronger compared to the at-home kits. Although heat, light, or a combination of the two may be used in addition to a whitening gel, it is the whitening gel that does most of the whitening. Most of these products do require an at-home whitening component to be done following the in-office treatment.

At-Home Teeth Bleaching Options

There are many choices for bleaching teeth at home both professionally supervised and over-the-counter options.

Tray-based tooth bleaching systems
Custom-fitted thin trays which are made by your dental professional, are filled with a peroxide-based bleaching gel and worn over teeth. These trays are generally used for 10-14 days from 30 minutes a day to overnight applications depending on the type of gel. Although this process takes longer compared to in-office options, it is a gentle way of achieving and maintaining great results.

Tooth whitening strips and gels
These products are provided by your dental professional or bought over-the-counter and are applied directly to teeth with a brush or a thin strip. Strips may be technique sensitive to apply and paint on gels may not be as effective as the tray-based systems.

Professionally-supervised tooth whitening, and some over-the-counter products are very effective. Few people may achieve the Hollywood white smile, but most will get great results and achieve a more naturally looking bright smile. How well tooth bleaches work largely depends on the individual and on their unique dental characteristics. Some teeth or areas of teeth are more resistant to whitening. In general, yellow and orange stains tend to lighten best while teeth with a more grey hue are more resistant to treatment. Fillings, bonding, porcelain veneers or crowns do not whiten. People that have untreated cavities should not use tooth whitening.

It's worth noting that tooth whitening is not a permanent solution no matter which system is used. Stains will continually accumulate in the tooth. This means that touching up or freshening up the whitening is necessary to maintain the lighter colour.

Tooth sensitivity is a common temporary side effect of all the whitening products. There are several ways you can reduce sensitivity, including desensitizing toothpastes, reducing acidic food, and skipping a day or two between applications. Pregnant or breastfeeding women, and those undergoing fertility treatment should avoid tooth whiteners as their safety in this situation has not been tested. Remember, it's always best to ask your dentist if you are using an over-the-counter product.

No matter what you decide about teeth whitening, keep smiling! Your smile will always look good on you.


Why our patients choose us

Sarah E.

If you have anxiety about getting dental work done, or if you're highly sensitive and worried about pain, Dr. Martino will always make the process as comfortable as possible.

Monica B.

The office is stunning and a great location in central Richmond Hill. Dr Martino (and her staff) are a joy to work with. Also, the cleaning was the best I've ever had.

Andrea & Lisa C

I have never been to another dentist that makes me feel comfortable when working on my teeth. She is very gentle and thorough from start to finish.

Alexandr E.

This dentistry is absolutely amazing. The office and all the equipment is very clean, brand-new, and fresh. It creates a feeling of being at a very modern dentistry. Also, the staff is super friendly and makes you feel like home.

Ray V.

Dr. Martino has been my dentist for 21 years, and over that time I've referred several friends and family members to her. She is pleasant and professional. Wishing her all the best at her new practice.

Janis H.

Dr. Martino is an amazing dentist. She is kind, makes you feel comfortable and always does a great job! It is a pleasure coming to see her and her staff always smiling!

Paul D.

My family and I have been seeing Dr Martino for many years and we have had amazing care & service. This new location is great and the staff are so friendly.

Fernando C.

I have no hesitation recommending Dr. Martino to anyone. She is very professional, caring and gentle dentist. She takes time to explain and suggest what is best to be done.

Alvina I.

A warm welcome as soon as you walk in. Convenient parking in busy Richmond Hill. Dr Martino is the best dentist in Ontario! Staff are attentive and highly capable.

Ioana N.

Always a positive experience visiting Dr. Martino. She always lets you know what you need and we absolutely trust her professionalism. With the kids, she has a gentle, friendly approach. Our favourite dentist for over 20 years!

Let's get in touch!

Have a question or want to learn more? Drop us a line, we'd be happy to help.

We are gladly accepting new patients from Richmond Hill and surrounding areas, and we are looking forward to being the first choice for you and your family's dental care!

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10376 Yonge St. - Unit 109, Richmond Hill, ON L4C 3B8

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