When Beauty Treatments Backfire
We are all suckers for beauty treatments that promise a quick fix to our biggest dilemmas. But are the risks worth it? Find out
The quick fix: Laser teeth whiteningTo make your pearly whites even whiter, a bleaching gel is applied to your teeth and a laser is used to help that gel penetrate your enamel. The laser generates heat to open the teeth's pores so the bleaching gel can work its magic. While the procedure works well -- one visit to the dentist is usually all it takes for a much brighter smile -- the laser removes the natural fuzzy coating on your teeth, making them more susceptible to staining. "Consuming colored foods and drinks such as red wine, coffee, or red pasta sauce within that first 24 hours of laser teeth whitening is [a bad idea]," says Dr. Timothy Chase of SmilesNY in New York City. Why? Because the pores of your teeth are open, the color from that food will seep deeply into them, causing severe staining."
What's more, the heat generated by the laser can "cause gum damage and burning of the mouth tissue," says Forouzanpour. There's also a good chance you'll have high teeth sensitivity for a couple of days after the treatment.
The better option: LED teeth whitening and brushing with peroxide
With LED teeth whitening, you don't get the discomfort or the no-colored-food-for-24-hours mandate that comes with laser whitening. That's because unlike the laser, LED doesn't create any heat or open your teeth's enamel.
To prevent daily stains from accumulating, Forouzanpour suggests brushing your teeth with a spoonful of hydrogen peroxide before brushing with toothpaste. "You'll see the peroxide bubble and fizz, which is a sign that it's gently removing any stains that you may have accumulated during the day." Worried about swallowing some of that nasty-tasting stuff? Forouzanpour says even if you swallow some of the peroxide, it won't have any adverse effects. After a couple weeks of nightly brushing, you should see a difference.
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