Teeth whitening procedures vary in price, location, safety level

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Many people want brighter, whiter smiles but might be overwhelmed by the variety of products and options available. Locally, dental professionals at Majestic Smile, 518 Humboldt St., are offering a new procedure they said is more effective and less harmful.

The Majestic Smile process works differently than other processes, said local dentist Robert David Sager of Sager Dental Associates, which is not associated with Majestic Smile.

“We are all about whitening teeth, not harming the gums,” Sager said. “We use [Lighting Emitting Diode] lights — not a laser, which burns the gums.”

The LED whitening system does not harm teeth, gums or lips with heat or excessive use of radiation wavelengths.

Patients first look at a chart of different shades of white and pick the color on the chart that best represents their teeth. After that, a whitening technician puts a whitening solution on patients’ teeth and put the lighting device close to the teeth. The sessions are eight minutes long. After the third session, technicians remove the whitening solution from the teeth.

Cecilia Knapp, whitening technician, said people pay for three eight-minute sessions but are free to purchase more sessions. Knapp she does not recommend additional sessions because they can wear the enamel off a person’s teeth.

“This method produces immediate results up to four to six shades lighter, and you can always see the results,” Sager said.

“Within the last three years, many people don’t come in [to Majestic Smile] because they do it in the mall,” Sager said.

Sager said though teeth whitening venues can be found at malls, he advises costumers to beware.

He said many mall venues might not have professionals working there or technicians using proper lighting devices.

“The light doesn’t do anything but maybe wear down teeth enamel,” Sager said. “The lights used are most likely UV lights, which cause sun burn.”

Sager urges people to do research when trying to find the best option for whitening their teeth.

Whitening products like Crest White Strips are easier to buy and cheaper than other teeth whitening options, but Sager said people cannot use the strips over and over again because they will ruin teeth.

“Using white strips constantly will make teeth look dull,” Sager said. “People can use the strips every once in a while.”

Using whitening strips can take off stains but also removes minerals from teeth, while depositing chemicals.

Heather Hart, sophomore in open option, said she has used whitening strips and even whitening mouthwash. She said she did not get fast results, but by the end of the process, her teeth were whiter.

“I did notice [the whitening product] made my teeth more sensitive,” Hart said. “I started using it less, like once a day instead of twice a day like it said.”

Hart said she knew teeth sensitivity and other problems might happen while using the whitening strips but used them anyway.

She said she chose to use whitening strips instead of going to a professional because she liked being able to choose when to use them, and they were also less expensive.

Majestic Smile sells a post-operation kit which includes various products to help restore teeth after having a whitening done.

One of the products in the post-operation kit is a toothpaste that reduces the irritation of the gums.

Sager stressed that protection of the gums is extremely important because teeth can be sensitive.

“We are trying to get the word out about the right way to do things,” Sager said.

Sager said patients who have had their teeth whitened at Majestic Smile usually experience results that last for six months to a year when using the after-care products.

“We are trying to embark on a new project,” Sager said.

“We want to make it affordable at the front end.”

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