Beware of Teeth Whitening!

This weekend, one of my staff members (one of my hygienist) attended the Philadelphia Home and Garden Show. While there, her and her mother (who is also a Dental Hygiene Instructor at a Local College) saw a booth performing teeth whitening. Of course these two very well dentally educated ladies approached the booth. There was a person in the booth performing teeth whitening. These two ladies decided to ask a few questions about the procedure, and these questions were things the general public may or may not have known. Questions like: What type of dental training do you have? How do you know if a patient has gum disease or periodontal disease? What would you do if a person had tooth sensitivity after the procedure? What about cavities or abfraction?

Some of the answers may or may not surprise you. This person (at the home and garden show) claimed to be a dental hygienist, but his answers were very un-hygienist like. When he was asked, “How would you know if a patient had gum or periodontal disease?” He answered “by just looking at the patient’s teeth and gums”. This is absolutely incorrect information. Any dental professional would know that “you can’t diagnose gum disease by visual examination only. You need a combination of things like x-rays, and the most important instrument for diagnosing gum disease, “the periodontal probe”. The periodontal probe is a measuring tool, to measure the pockets around each and every tooth. It measures in millimeters (mm) with 3 mm or less is considered “healthy”. Unhealthy or various stages of periodontal (gum) disease depends on the measurements. 4-6mm is moderate, and greater than 7mm is severe. X-rays show the level of bone support or in this case, the lack of it. Gum Disease ATTACKS the bone around the teeth. That’s why severe cases of gum disease cause teeth to become loose. This is why it takes all 3 tools (visual, x-rays, and the periodontal probe) to make the diagnosis of periodontal disease.

Another big question was “What would you do if a person had tooth sensitivity after the procedure?” He (the home and garden hygienist) would recommend you to “just visit your dentist”. Isn’t that interesting? This company can perform a dental tooth whitening procedures during a home and garden show yet they are untrained on how to resolve any problems that may arise from the procedure.

Do yourselves a huge favor! Only get tooth whitening procedures from a dentist. Why? Because if any problem arise, the dentist knows what has been prescribed and how much of it that has been used. In the case of the teeth whitening at the home and garden show, this company will be long gone by the time you would normally visit your dentist and how would your dentist know what type of whitening material that was used? How would your dentist know how much was used? What moderation? What duration? Now imagine trying to track down this company to find out the answers to these questions? Talk about things that make you go hmmmm!

If you have any dental questions, don’t forget to “Ask Dr. Pierson!”

Author
Pierson Dental

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