What You Need to Know About Teeth Whitening

Have you ever watched a television talk show and marveled at how white and perfect a 
guest’s teeth appear? When a person works in an environment in which their teeth are 
prominently on display, it behooves him or her to maintain a smile that’s as flawless as 
possible. Of course, many people in the public eye have caps, crowns or implants that 
look just like real teeth.

One thing that you can do to improve your appearance is having your teeth professionally 
whitened. Many people do it, it’s commonplace and can be performed in most dentists’ 
offices. It can be a good thing, especially if your teeth are stained from coffee, red wine, 
tobacco, or other products. Talk to your dentist and ask him or her for an opinion. 
In the meantime, here are some things you’ll want  to know.

Toothpaste alone won’t do it.

Walk down the toothpaste aisle in any store and you’ll see myriad products claiming that 
they’ll give you a whiter, brighter smile. While it’s important to brush your teeth at least 
twice a day, especially after meals, what you can accomplish with toothpaste can’t compare 
to what your dentist or hygienist will be able to do. Some whitening products can help, but 
it’s much safer to put your mouth in the hands of a professional.

There’s a difference between bleaching and whitening.

If you decide you want to do your own whitening, know this: Most tooth whiteners provided 
by dentists or at your local pharmacy contain either hydrogen peroxide or carbamide 
peroxide. There's a difference. Hydrogen peroxide actually does the bleaching, and 
carbamide peroxide breaks down into hydrogen peroxide. If you get a whitening product 
from your dentist, it will most likely be much stronger than the products available in stores. 
In fact, whiteners obtained from dentists might include 35 to 45 percent peroxide, while on 
the other hand the kits sold in stores generally have seven percent.

How dentists whiten teeth in the office

The safest and most effective way to get your teeth whitened is to have the procedure done 
in your dentist’s office. It’s not difficult, but you’ll need to allot up to 90 minutes. Here’s how it 
generally works.

First, your dentist will examine your teeth, mainly to note and record their present color. The 
teeth will then be polished. Most dentists use pumice, which is a sort of sandy, grainy 
material to remove plaque. It’s important to remove any plaque that might be on the surface 
of the teeth.

Next, the stage will be set. Small gauze rolls will be placed in your mouth, both to give the 
dentist an area to work in around each tooth, as well as to keep the teeth dry during the 
procedure. He or she might also put retractors in your mouth to protect the surrounding skin 
from the whitening solution. Then, a barrier will be positioned along the gum line as an 
added protective measure.

Now, the whitening begins, as your dentist coated the front surface of each tooth using a 
whitening solution containing hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. This is when the 
bleaching takes place. Your dentist might also focus a light or laser on your teeth, as this can 
help to activate the peroxide. At this point, with the whitening solution on your teeth, you’ll be 
instructed to sit and wait left for 30 to 60 minutes. Your dentist will check on you periodically, 
and might even apply some additional solution or touch up the work, if needed. Then, once 
the correct shade has been achieved, the dentist will rinse your teeth and possibly apply 
some fluoride to help address any tooth sensitivity.

If you or your dentist don’t believe that your teeth aren’t as white as you’d like, you might be 
encouraged to schedule one or more additional visits for more whitening. Your dentist will 
also provide you with a list of foods or drinks to avoid so as not to disturb the whiteness of 
your teeth. And if you’re a smoker, you’ll be instructed not to do that.

Occasionally, there are factors that will need to be addressed before a teeth whitening 
procedure can be initiated, such as cuts, cavities, gum injuries, or other problems. So it's 
important for you to discuss with your dentist your desire to whiten your teeth before you 

Preventing Cavities in Children: Tips for Parents

Based on recent studies, Canada is ranked among the best when it comes to overall oral health. In fact, Canadians have access to some of the best oral health care in the world. Wait times to see a dentist and to receive treatments are typically a non-issue, and the majority of Canadians believe they have good oral health.  

However, while most citizens realize the importance of maintaining a healthy mouth and receiving proper dental care, sometimes, they have trouble getting their children to follow suit. 

As dentists, cavities are one of the most common and problematic dental issues we see in young patients. Left untreated, cavities can cause pain and infection and can also lead to a number of unwanted problems down the road.  The good news is cavities are preventable if you implement the following steps.  
For babies: 
Wipe their gums with a soft wash cloth in the morning and before bed to wipe away bacteria.  When the teeth first start to surface, brush with a small, soft toothbrush twice day using only water to keep clean.  Children who are younger than 2 should not use fluoride toothpaste until they have learned how to spit it out.
For children: 
To get ahead of cavities, encourage your child to brush their teeth twice daily with fluoride toothpaste.  Avoid giving your child sugary drinks as they can contribute to tooth decay.  Water is best.  Also, ask your child’s dentist to apply sealants when appropriate to prevent cavities.  Most importantly, help your young child brush their teeth until they can maintain good brushing skills on their own.  As parents, make sure you talk to your children about the importance of oral health. 
Ease their anxiety
It’s natural for children to be nervous the first time they visit the dentist.  There is a large amount of fear and pre-conceived notion that children think they are going to have a painful experience.  To combat worry, address their concerns on a level that your child will understand.  It may be helpful to walk them through exactly what will occur during their appointment, so that they know what to expect.  The dental practice should be well-versed on helping children through their appointment as well.