Peter Hibberd, M.D., is a doctor whose advice is based on more than 28 years of hospital outpatient and inpatient experience. He is an experienced emergency medicine physician, surgeon, and consultant. Dr. Hibberd is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He is also a fellow and active member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, an active member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and a member and fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Hibberd has earned numerous national and international professional certifications, memberships, and awards.

Safe Ways to Whiten Teeth

Monday, 06 December 2010 10:55 AM

Question: What is a safe way to whiten teeth at home?

Dr. Hibberd's Answer:

It is generally safe to use over-the-counter preparations of peroxide to whiten your teeth. Be sure to follow the labeled directions, and get an oral examination by your dentist and his or her permission to proceed with self-whitening.

You need to be cautious if you have periodontal disease, or orthodontic appliances or plastic braces that may be damaged by the solution. Using the over-the-counter self-bleaching solutions approved by the American Dental Association is preferable.

Avoid purchasing whitening products over the Internet; they may not have the correct buffers and pH (a measurement of acidity or alkalinity), and some unapproved solutions may actually erode and permanently damage your enamel.

Do not repeat the process more often than recommended. There is some concern that overzealous re-application may be damaging to periodontal tissue. Chronic irritation of oral mucous membranes may predispose us to oral malignancy, as some snuff and tobacco chewers have lived to unfortunately experience.

Some people prefer the higher-concentration solutions applied at the dentist's office because they usually take two hours to complete, while the self-application methods take several weeks. I am not so eager to promote laser resurfacing unless it is done under the guidance and advice of your dentist. We have limited enamel covering our teeth, and I can’t see destroying it for cosmetic reasons.

© HealthDay

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