Tooth whitening is one of the most popular cosmetic dental treatments out there because it's a quick way to improve your tooth shades with few side effects. However, the hydrogen- and carbamide-peroxide used in the whitening agent can cause some people to develop tooth sensitivity. You can reduce this side effect by using specialized toothpaste and undergoing fluoride treatments, but if you are prone to tooth sensitivity, you may want to ask your dentist about alternative whitening options. Here are three alternatives to consider.
Whitening Prophy Paste
Dental prophylactic (prophy) paste is usually used at the end of cleaning appointments to polish teeth and remove discoloration. DentistryIQ says that there are now peroxide-free prophy pastes that are formulated to whiten teeth. These prophy pastes rely on complementary color cancellation science. When complementary colors are mixed, they cancel each other out and produce a grayscale color, like white, which can be used to brighten your smile.
A cosmetic dentist can use these types of prophy pastes to help you remove mild and moderate staining. Other whitening agents don't work on restorations, like veneers, but some whitening prophy pastes can brighten both natural teeth as well as restorations.
Your cosmetic dentist can apply a solution of calcium phosphate crystals, which can attach to the enamel to give the illusion of a whiter smile. Some dentists might combine these crystals with a sodium bicarbonate mix to help loosen up superficial stains on teeth. If you have white lesions from fluorosis, those can be difficult to whiten since they are intrinsic stains, or below the surface of the enamel. However, calcium phosphate gels can help reduce the demineralization of white lesions, and thus, improve the color uniformity of your teeth. Calcium-phosphate may be used in in-office formulations, or your dentist can prescribe special toothpaste with this ingredient to help you whiten your teeth at home.
Phthalimidoperoxycaproic acid (PAP) is a bleaching activator and is sometimes mixed in peroxide bleaching agents, but it can be used on its own to whiten your teeth. It can be found in mouthwash and some toothpastes. One study looked at the safety and effectiveness of PAP and found that it did not reduce the hardness of enamel or erode enamel like hydrogen peroxide gels. The same study found that PAP could help patients see as much as eight shades of change in their teeth. PAP whitening is especially effective for people with polyphenol-based stains, or people who have stains from red wine and tea.
These are just a few alternative whitening solutions to keep in mind. Reach out to a cosmetic dentist such as Thomas J Gilbert DDS PC / Royal Oak Dental for more details.