Monday, August 13, 2007
Medical Reports: Medical: White Out
From at-home white strips to lasers and lights, more and more teenagers are doing what they can to get whiter, brighter smiles. But it's not for everyone. Seven's Richard Lemus shows us when it's safe to White Out.
WSVN -- White teeth are white hot. Everyone is looking for a bright smile, even teenagers are now blinded by the white. Sixteen-year-old Taryn Barg has been whitening her teeth at home for the last two years.
Taryn Barg: "I decided to start whitening my teeth once I got my braces off. I realized that I wanted my smile to look a little brighter."
From toothpaste to whitening strips, she's whitened her teeth at least 20 times and likes what she sees.
Taryn Barg: "Ever since, I've been slightly addicted to using them because it's really made a difference. My teeth could always get whiter."
Dr. David Carroll: "I think it has become much more of a trend in the past five years. There's been a big movement for young people to have white teeth."
Popular but not always a good idea. Dentist David Carroll warns that kids under the age of 14 shouldn't get caught up in this smile style because their teeth aren't fully developed.
Dr. David Carroll: "I prefer that all the permanent teeth are fully erupted in the mouth because some permanent teeth will have come in, others won't, and so the permanent teeth that have come in, will be whitened, and then the new teeth will be a different color."
Dr. Carroll says that teenagers should stay away from instant whitening processes like the ones done in dentists' offices, because they can be too harsh. Instead, he suggests they start with less potent versions that can be bought at the store, or they get custom-fitted trays from their dentists where the peroxide levels can be controlled.
Dr. David Carroll: "The advantage there is we're using a time-released solution, which works overnight, so as we decrease the concentration of peroxide, we also decrease the chance of sensitivity."
You should stop whitening if you experience any tooth or gum sensitivity, and keep in mind there's a limit to how white teeth will become.
Dr. David Carroll: "Sometimes the teeth will become overly translucent. In other words, they become a little bit too clear."
Taryn doesn't think she's gone far enough yet, and she has a brighter future ahead.
Taryn Barg: "Once the white strips have been used a lot, I'll go to the dentist and try doing something more advanced."
Something that gives her a lot to smile about.
Taryn Barg: "It just makes you want to smile more than you already do, and getting compliments, it feels good."
Richard Lemus: "Before you whiten your teeth, you should see a dentist. There could be other underlying problems like cavities."
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