Why Can’t I Just Whiten My Teeth at Home?

You may want whiter teeth and are starting to wonder why it is that you cannot whiten your own teeth at home. The answer depends on the unique situation of your teeth, because no two people – and two sets of teeth – are the same. All teeth are slightly different in terms of their density, their size, their chemical composition, and their color. Some people have bright white teeth, others have teeth stained with smoke or coffee, and some people have teeth covered in hard layers of off-color plaque. So once you have a better idea of where your teeth land in that large range of dental demographics, you can get a better answer – and more specific information – regarding home whitening or so-called DIY whitening techniques.

If your teeth are almost pure white already, you might be able to go one shade whiter by just using some whiteners found at the drug store. But if you have teeth that are more faded or stained, chances are that you might get less than stellar results by taking the do-it-yourself self-whitening route. In that case you will see less significant results, and that is when people start asking how it is that they are not able to whiten their teeth at home. But don’t blame yourself, and you probably should not blame the product you bought at the drug store, either, as long as it came from a reputable and legitimate manufacturer. The real problem is most likely traced to the fact that your teeth have more stubborn stains.

In that case home tooth whiteners are just not strong enough to get the job done. That’s a good thing, however, because you do not want to start fooling around with industrial strength peroxides and other whitening agents that could harm you and damage your teeth, unless you have professional training and experience. That’s a job for a licensed dentist who knows how to use those more potent whiteners in an effective and safe way. He or she can get the results you want, without any unwanted risk to your health and dental well being. Dentists have access to not only stronger bleaches and tooth whiteners, but they also have tools that you would not be able to use yourself at home. They can scrape away years of accumulated stains and unwanted plaque. They can brush and polish your teeth to a whiter color, and they can even use high-tech instruments involving water pressure or electronic lasers to get rid of those stains and give your teeth a whiter look.

You might want to test out some take-home DIY type whiteners. Begin with whitening toothpastes, but be careful. Some people use them and then their teeth get really sensitive to hot or cold liquids, and it can take days or weeks for the pain and discomfort to stop. Gels and other bleaches do the same kind of thing, but more intensely – whether you use bite trays or other methods. So to play it safe and avoid uncomfortable after effects, the best thing to do is to leave the whitening process to your dentist. You might even get lucky and find out that with the help of your dentist you can, after all, get brighter and whiter teeth while doing most of the bleaching at home.

Dr. Kelaher

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