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Which Teeth Whitening Method Is Best for You?

Teeth whitening with Cary cosmetic dentistYou would love to have a bright, vibrant smile, but years of coffee, soda, or the occasional glass of red wine has got your teeth looking dull, dingy, and yellow. Now, you’re self-conscious when you smile, and you avoid having pictures because of your teeth. The good news is there are a variety of teeth whitening products on the market to help you restore pearly whites, but now you have new questions – Do any of them work? Are they safe? How much do they cost? To help you choose the right whitening option for your teeth, our Cary cosmetic dentist is providing an in-depth look at several popular options, so you can determine which one is right for you!

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Schedule a consultation with our dental office to learn if professional whitening is right for you!


Charcoal Teeth Whitening

Activated charcoal is a hot product right now, found in all kinds of health and beauty aids including soap, facial masks, and toothpaste. The charcoal in these products is not made from the charcoal you use to cook hot dogs, this is generally made from peat, hard wood, and coconut shell. It’s been used in emergency rooms for years to treat patients with alcohol poisoning or a drug overdose because it can quickly absorb toxins.

How Does Charcoal Teeth Whitening Work?

Charcoal is a highly porous substance, so, in theory, it binds and absorbs everything it contacts, including oil and dirt on your skin, or stains, tartar, and bacteria on your teeth. As you brush with a charcoal teeth whitening tooth paste, the charcoal pulls the stains and bacteria on your teeth, leaving behind a brighter, healthier smile. At least, that’s what the claims say.

Is Charcoal Toothpaste Effective?

Charcoal-infused paste is generally not effective for whitening because it’s not on the teeth for a long enough period of time. Some people do say that their teeth seem a few shades lighter, but that is most likely due to the abrasive texture of the charcoal.

Is Charcoal Teeth Whitening Safe?

The more we learn about using charcoal toothpaste, the more concerning it is. In fact, it seems that over time, charcoal toothpaste may do more harm than good. Not only do studies from the British Dental Journal show that it doesn’t prevent tooth decay and most varieties don’t contain fluoride, it’s also highly abrasive. Brushing your teeth with an abrasive substance can end up irritating gums, particles can get into fillings, and it can even wearing away enamel, making teeth look more yellow over time as the dentin below the enamel shows through.

How Much Does Charcoal Toothpaste Cost and Does It Last?

There are several brands to choose from, and most brands run between 5 and 10 dollars. There’s no proof that charcoal works, and if it does, it would need to be used frequently in order to maintain results. As we mentioned above, that may cause more damage than good.

Our Verdict on Charcoal Teeth Whitening?

If you want to try a whitening toothpaste, use one that is approved by the American Dental Association. It will have an ADA logo on the box, and while it may not dramatically whiten your teeth, it will keep them clean and healthy!

Crest Teeth Whitening Strips

Crest teeth whitening strips are one of the most popular options for at-home teeth whitening, with good reason – they’re found at most pharmacies and grocery stores, they’re affordable, and they are easy to use.

How Do Crest WhiteStrips Work?

Crest WhiteStrips are thin, flexible strips made from polyethylene – the same plastic polymer used to make milk jugs. Because of their design, they are able to fit over the teeth with ease, and they contain an adhesive made from carbomer and polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP), a polymer often used in pill capsules and tablets, to hold them onto the teeth. The Crest teeth whitening strips (specifically the Luxe White Glamorous Whitestrips) contain a 9.5 percent hydrogen peroxide solution. This soaks into the teeth and bleaches out stains to make teeth appear whiter. Most Crest strips aren’t to be worn longer than five minutes per day.

Are Crest Teeth Whitening Strips Effective?

Generally, Crest strips are shown to bleach stains and make them a few shades lighter. While most whitening products contain some amount of peroxide, the strips are effective because they are bonded to your teeth longer than toothpastes or whitening pens, giving the peroxide a better opportunity to work on your teeth.

Are Crest WhiteStrips Safe?

While the chemicals listed above sound intimidating, PVP, carbomer, and polyethylene are found to be safe to use. However, people with sensitive skin may find the materials irritate their gums or are uncomfortable. As for the peroxide, because it’s in a fairly low concentration, it’s generally considered safe for occasional use, especially when you follow the manufacturer’s direction. However, because it’s an over-the-counter purchase, there’s no professional guidance on how to use them, meaning we have seen people damage their teeth by leaving the strips on longer (even overnight!)  or using them daily for an extended period of time. When used excessively, Crest WhiteStrips can cause tooth sensitivity, damage enamel, and lead to teeth looking more yellow and vulnerable to decay.

How Much Do Crest Teeth Whitening Strips Cost and Do They Last?

Crest WhiteStrips come in a variety of options, but they generally cost between 15 and 35 dollars. You should see a difference in how your teeth look between five and seven days, and the effects last around four to six months, though some users find it lasts longer depending on lifestyle habits.

Professional Teeth Whitening

Another option to teeth whitening is visiting a cosmetic dentist and having them professionally whitened. This is a popular option because it is highly effective for most patients, lasts a long time, and is closely monitored by a professional, so it’s generally safer.

How Does Professional Teeth Whitening Work?

At Beavers Dentistry in Cary, we offer a highly customized whitening because we have trays custom made for the best possible fit. We take impressions of your teeth at our office to make trays, then when the trays are ready, we give you a peroxide bleaching solution to add to the trays to wear at home. Our office also provides you with in-depth instruction on how to use it. The solution is added to the trays, then you put the trays in your mouth, where your teeth should fit comfortably inside. Because you’re at home, you can comfortably read, watch TV, or just play on your phone in comfort, but it’s important to set a timer so you don’t leave them on too long. Each year at your dental checkup, we’ll provide you with a free container of peroxide teeth whitening agent for touch-ups to keep your teeth vibrant and white!

Is Professional Teeth Whitening Effective

Because we are able to provide a more concentrated solution, our patients can see a dramatic shift in the brightness of their teeth when used as directed. Also, because we offer touch-up solutions annually, you can maintain your pearly whites. We do recommend avoiding coffee, tea, colas, or red wine, or rinsing after you consume them to avoid staining your teeth.

Is It Safe to Have My Teeth Whitened?

When you are under the care of your cosmetic dentist, teeth whitening is very safe. Some people may experience tooth sensitivity for a day or two after using the whitening solution, but it is temporary.

How Much Is Professional Teeth Whitening and Does It Last?

The cost of professional teeth whitening may not cost as much as you think. Also, at our cosmetic dentist office in Cary, you’ll get maintenance whitening for free once a year! Compared to over the counter solutions and toothpastes, professional whitening lasts much longer – often well over a year!

Contact Our Cosmetic Dental Office in Cary

We want to help restore your smile and your confidence! Reach out to us today by filling out the form below or calling us to schedule your consultation!

(919) 467-0654


Dr. Keith is steadfast in his commitment and dedication to his patients and their care. He strives to help his patients maintain and improve their oral health, quality of life, and appearance. Dr. Keith and Dr. Wayne Beavers are dedicated to providing professional, quality care for general, cosmetic and restorative dental procedures.

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