Posted November 4, 2013
Tooth whitening is the No. 1 cosmetic dentistry procedure, reports the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD). Americans spend more than $1.7 billion each year on procedures and products designed to whiten their teeth and enhance their smiles.
Teeth whitening procedures were initially introduced in the 1990s. The AACD states that the number of whitening treatments has grown more than 300 percent in the past two decades.
While many people schedule tooth whitening appointments with their dentist, others purchase over-the-counter bleaching kits to achieve a dazzling white smile. According to WebMD, some people become addicted to their white teeth, and it’s easy for them to overdo it. Their teeth may seem to glow in the dark or become transparent. Peroxide bleaching products left on teeth too long may cause a throbbing pain in the teeth. While the pain may diminish after treatment, the teeth may continue to hurt for several days.
Teenagers Seek Bright Smiles
Tooth whitening has become popular with teenagers interested in improving their appearance. Due to limited finances, many look for an inexpensive way to achieve bright smiles, which has made the do-it-yourself kits a popular option. However, the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) reports that proper whitening requires the use of custom-made bleaching trays that dentists shape to fit each patient’s mouth. And since the whitening products easily can damage dental work and gums, it’s important for dental professionals to monitor the process.
How to Keep Teeth White
WebMD offers these tips to keep teeth white:
- Avoid scheduling a tooth whitening procedure for teens until at least age 14; the tooth pulp should be formed completely and teeth should be less sensitive to the bleach products
- Eliminate dark stains on front teeth by sipping sodas and coffee through a straw; avoid consumption of red wine
- Brush or rinse shortly after consuming beverages or foods that may stain teeth
- Brush teeth at least twice daily and floss teeth at bedtime to remove plaque that can cause stains or create cavities
- Use a whitening toothpaste once weekly to prevent tooth yellowing and remove surface stains
Learn more about tooth whitening: