- May 10, 2021
Scroll through any social media feed and you’ll see lots of photos filled with bright, white smiles. White teeth are an accessory many people can’t live without. It’s estimated that more than 37 million Americans used tooth whiteners in 2020.
Maintaining white teeth is an ongoing process. Many foods and drinks contain a chemical compound call chromogen that can stain teeth, such as coffee and tomato sauce. If you smoke, nicotine and tar can cause staining. Even some medications can cause teeth to discolor.
What is the best way to whiten teeth? Are you looking for teeth whitening that actually works? Most dentists offer teeth whitening procedures that are conducted in the office or provide customized whitening trays to use at home. Plus, you can’t miss all the over-the-counter (OTC) whitening products in the oral care aisle at your favorite store. Even some salon owners and kiosk operators offer teeth-whitening kits and services.
Teeth Whitening Laws
Because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration classifies peroxide-based whiteners as cosmetic, there is a fair amount of leeway in who can offer teeth-whitening services and products.
Illinois is one of the few states that says anyone can offer teeth-whitening services without a licensed dentist because it does not categorize the service as “practicing dentistry.” The only restriction is the purveyor must first “disclose to the consumer that he or she is not licensed as a dentist,” according to Section 8 of the Illinois Dental Practice Act.
In at least 14 states, teeth whitening laws specify that only licensed dentists, hygienists and assistants can perform teeth-whitening procedures.
Which Way To Whiten
If you have questions about the best approach to whiten your teeth, your best bet is to start with your dentist. He or she can walk you through your options and explain the efficacy of each approach.
Dentist-supervised whitening services include in-office and at-home options and are considered professional products that are not available OTC. Your dentist can explain how the products work as well as possible side effects. It’s also important to note that implants or caps generally do not change color in response to whitening procedures.
Your dentist can also provide advice about OTC whitening products and may recommend certain toothpaste or mouthwash to extend the effectiveness of professional products that are endorsed by the American Dental Association.
Consider whitening services performed by non-professionals with caution. If something goes wrong, you will not have quick access to the help you need to address any issues.
There are also a lot of teeth whitening hacks floating around the Internet. As with any cosmetic work on teeth, it’s best to consult a dental professional before undertaking any course of treatment, even if products are available over the counter. If you’re looking for the best cosmetic dentist near Joliet, call Shorewood Family Dental Care at 815-725-5991 or book an appointment online.