Options for Whitening Your Teeth: Perfecting Your Pearly Whites

Illustration: A sparkling white tooth

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The quest for whiter and brighter teeth soared during the pandemic as people had more time and easy online access to products that promised perfect pearly whites. Now, between at-home strategies and more advanced procedures at dental offices, even more people are opting for whiter and brighter smiles.

The teeth whitening market is expected to grow from $6.64 billion in 2022 to $8.55 billion by 2028, according to research conducted by The Insight Partners, which identifies itself as “a one-stop industry research provider of actionable intelligence.” For as little as $20 in one day to as much as a $1,000 procedure over one or two weeks, the transformation from dull to white can happen.

Mount Pleasant resident Emily Brener, 31, explored several teeth whitening options before finding an at-home treatment that she now incorporates into her self-care routine. As the office manager at Water’s Edge Family Dentistry, Brener knew what to research.

“I’m an avid coffee drinker who enjoys an occasional glass of red wine,” she said. “I know I could cut down my coffee intake, but this is not ideal for anyone who has to be around me, especially when there is such a simple solution – whitening.”

“I want to be my most confident self, and, to me, my smile plays a huge role in that confidence,” Brener added.

Three common misconceptions that keep some people from taking the whitening leap are that whitening can degrade the enamel of your teeth; you need to have a whitening procedure completed in an office using special lights and equipment to get professional results; and there are no options for people with sensitive teeth.

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Most professional whitening products are made from peroxide- based gels which do not harm enamel.

In-office bleaching can be a convenient way of getting your teeth brighter because it can be done in one visit. However, it tends to be expensive. You can get the same results at home at a fraction of the cost, using a professional strength, at-home bleaching system.

“I use the glo whitening system. I love it because each whitening session only takes eight minutes,” Brener said. “I have also tried several other whitening products and found that they caused sensitivity, whereas this system never has.”

Options for you and your trusted dentist to consider.Despite the advances and the myriad of whitening options, not all teeth are easy to brighten.

Intrinsic stains caused by factors such as heavy use of the antibiotic tetracycline during tooth development, teeth that darken after dental trauma or teeth that have had root canals might not respond to standard whitening procedures.

Some more advanced dental treatments that might help improve the appearance of tetracycline-stained teeth include porcelain veneers, dental bonding, crowns, micro abrasion and internal bleaching.

There are so many different strengths and bleaching systems out there that are safe and effective, but not all teeth are going to whiten the same. When in doubt, talk with a dentist you trust.

Note: Information for this story was gleaned from an interview with a local dentist and from the American Dental Association.

By Lisa Moody Breslin

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