It has been really exciting to be in the dental field in the past year. The media is doing our job by selling and creating a “buzz” about whitening. Reality television with programming like Extreme Makeover has raised the level of public awareness of tooth whitening. The media and the public are hungry to learn about and see the results of whitening. So, what is there left to do? Well, maintain the results of treatment.
Once a patient has had a tooth-whitening procedure, it is necessary to maintain the resulting color because of the risk of the teeth gradually returning to their original color. If we consider tooth whitening to be a technique that can clean the deep and superficial stains on teeth, it should also be recognized that these stains will come back rapidly (stains out…stains in) due to the food and drinks we consume daily. Other products such as tobacco and wine will also aggravate the slow return to the color the patient had prior to whitening.
Figure 1. Super quick, total oral care whitening system.
Figure 2. Zoom! Advanced Power.
Figure 3. SuperSmile dental floss. I call it super floss.
Figure 4. SuperSmile Professional Whitening Toothpaste.
Figure 5. StayBright from LumaLite, a daily help for patients.
It is often mentioned that red wine, coffee, and cigarettes stain the teeth. Indeed, they do stain the teeth, but other products we eat in our daily life have the potential of staining the teeth to the same degree. We have only to think about all the dyes present in foods such as mustard, ketchup, tomato sauce, etc. However, rather than modifying the patient’s daily diet as a way to maintain the tooth-whitening results, I recommend that you advise patients to use whitening maintenance products that will help sustain the results that the whitening treatment has achieved.
These maintenance products are available not to whiten the teeth but to clean the surface stains, and if used on a daily basis, they are able to prevent the stains that reach deeper into the tooth structure and cause the effects of whitening to be lost. These products are of cardinal importance in the durability of whitening procedure results. Moreover, they can be used on porcelain veneers, porcelain crowns, and bonding. And for people who
did not have whitening procedures, these products could help maintain their current tooth color.
Hundreds of thousands of people already have used some type of technique for tooth whitening. Tooth whitening can be divided into 3 categories. A few examples are provided:
(1) Over-the-counter products such as SuperSmile Superquick kit (Figure 1; Robell Research), Crest Whitestrips (Procter & Gamble), or Simply White (Colgate-Palmolive).
(2) Home-whitening solutions such as Nite White ACP (Discus Dental), Zoom! 2 Weekender Kit (Discus Dental), or Trèswhite (Ultradent Products).
(3) One-hour or chairside whitening (often called laser whitening) with machines like Zoom! Advanced Power (Discus Dental; Figure 2), BriteSmile (Discus Dental), and LumaLite (LumaLite).
When using the home whitening solution or the chairside solution, one needs to maintain the result by using the tray once a month. If trays are not available, a variety of maintenance products are an easy and effective solution for maintaining treatment results. Brushing and flossing the teeth on a daily basis is a must as well (Figure 3).
The maintenance products that are found on the market are in the form of rinses and toothpastes. I even consider the strips that are sold on the market as a type of maintenance product, and they are very easy to use.
Whitening toothpaste products are abundant, and are in fact maintenance products. A toothpaste cannot deliver whitening results by itself, contrary to what is said in some advertising and promotions. One should avoid brands that change their products and flavors every week. I found out that buying products from boutique companies can often be a wise choice. At our whitening center, we have been using the SuperSmile products as a maintenance solution, and our results have been consistent and effective for patients. The SuperSmile toothpaste (Figure 4) with accelerator package can even get rid of nicotine stains caused by cigarettes. SuperSmile was developed by Dr. Irwin Smigel.
In the rinse category, BriteSmile and Super-Smile offer comparable results, as they both help to keep teeth clean, prevent plaque accumulation, and leave your breath feeling fresh. Mouthrinse is recommended, but better results are obtained when combined with toothpaste.
Another maintenance product is StayBright from Luma-Lite (Figure 5), which is used to keep the white effect after chairside tooth whitening. It is presented in a small format with an applicator to polish the teeth. The patients appreciate the format because of its ease of use.
This article has discussed some of the products I find easy to work with and that produce excellent results. The future of dentistry is bright with all of the technological advancements that make our lives, and our patients’ lives, easier. With tooth whitening, the tough part is not achieving white teeth, but maintaining the results.
Ms. Beaulieu received her diploma in dental hygiene in 1998 and has been working since then as a dental hygienist. She has created a 1,200- square-foot dental whitening center and full service spa within the office of Dr. Elliot Mechanic in Montreal, Quebec. She lectures internationally on whitening, office design, and implementing spa services into the dental practice. She can be reached at (514) 769-3939.