Dr. Nammy Patel, founder of Green Dentistry in San Francisco, and author of the bestselling book, Age With Style— A Guide to a Youthful Smile and Healthy Living, discusses teeth whitening.
John Maher: Hi, I’m John Maher. And I’m here today with Dr. Nammy Patel, founder of Green Dentistry in San Francisco, California, helping patients recognize the vital connection between dental health and full body health, and author of the bestselling book, Age With Style, Guide to a Youthful Smile and Healthy Living. Today our topic is teeth whitening. Welcome Dr. Nammy.
Dr. Nammy: Hi John. Thank you for having me today.
Why Teeth Whitening?
John: Sure. So Dr. Nammy, why do people want to have teeth whitening done?
Dr. Nammy: The main reason people want whitening is to get a brighter smile, and today in our society where smiles are so important, it’s found that people who have a nice smile actually make 15% more in their income. Did you know that?
John: I didn’t know that.
Dr. Nammy: Fascinating, right? And studies have been shown to show that nice, beautiful, bright smiles actually make people feel more confident and make them feel youthful, make them feel like they have higher self esteem, and are able to communicate with others, be in group environments, and really have the human connection that we’re really desiring.
John: Right. Sometimes you see if people have crooked teeth or teeth that aren’t very white whenever they smile, they kind of put their hand in front of their mouth and hide their face. I always hate to see that.
Dr. Nammy: Yeah, and or also they smile without showing their teeth, which is not really showing their personality and really withholding who they really are. I firmly believe that a smile really shows somebody’s personality and their character and a bright, beautiful white smile definitely invites another person to connect.
Teeth Whitening Options
John: Right. Right. I see a lot of ads on TV for teeth whitening products and there’s toothpastes out there, every brand of toothpaste has a version of it that’s for teeth whitening. So do all these store bought teeth whitening options, did they work or do you really need to go see your dentist and get a professional teeth whitening procedure done?
Dr. Nammy: To be honest, John, the store bought whitening options do work and there are ways to make it work better. Obviously, if you’re looking to go one to two shades lighter, the store bought options are fantastic, but if you’re wanting a real big jump in the whitening, I would say go to the dentist. And there are ways you can make the store bought whitening work better, first go get a cleaning, so it’ll remove all the stains off the teeth. So that way the bleach can penetrate deeper and so the whitening that you bought at a store is going to have a better effect on you. The second is use an electric toothbrush, and then the third is before you use the whitening product, use toothpaste that has a little bit of pumice in it, or some silica particles that have a whitening effect. So it’ll make the whitening like Crest White Strips or something along those lines work a lot better.
John: Okay. And what are some different options that you offer at your practice for teeth whitening?
Dr. Nammy: The options that I offer for my patients is first we have a special paste that we use for our patients when we do our cleanings, it’s made with coconut oil and volcanic ash, and that tends to whiten the teeth really well. The second thing that we do is we have at home option, which is trays that you can wear with peroxide. The third is a laser whitening, which takes about an hour to two hours and you go about eight to 10 shades lighter.
John: Okay. And what’s the difference between those types of in office procedures and the at home options or even within those options that you just gave? You said there’s one that people can take home and then a couple of things that they can do in your office. Is one better than the other?
Dr. Nammy: Yes. And it’s basically what effect you want. So I would say my preference would be to do the in office whitening first, because you go eight to 10 shades lighter, and then maintain it with the add home products. The reason is that it gives you that boost that you really need. And you asked earlier, what is the difference between at home products and in the office products? It’s the amount of peroxide or the amount of whitening gel that we use, a percentage of it. So the stuff you can purchase over the counter is very nominal. And the stuff that we have in the office is a lot stronger. So if you want to use the analogy of bleach, there’s diluted bleach, and then there’s very strong hydrochloric acid. So it’s intensive bleach. So depending on the whitening that you’re wanting, that’s where you should go. At home products are like I said really minimal. They’re pretty safe. There’s nothing to worry about. The stuff in the office tends to be more advanced and more concentrated, but you also get the white really quick.
John: Okay. And you said that there is an option for you to send me home with a tray, explain that sort of procedure. And how long does that take at home and do I wear something while I’m sleeping? Or is it just like in the bathroom for five or 10 minutes? Or how does it work?
Dr. Nammy: It’s usually about 20 minutes. So I always recommend it after we do the whitening. So after you do the laser whitening, the tray stuff is really great as a maintenance kit. For example, for myself, I had my laser whitening done 14 years ago and it lasted a really long time. I didn’t have to re-whiten my teeth for a very, very, very long time. And when I did, I decided I just used the trays for about 20 minutes for three days. And it gave me the boost that I wanted already. So the laser whitening tends to have a longer lasting effect as well, which I really like.
John: All right, well, that’s great advice. Good information, Dr. Nammy, thanks again for speaking with me today.
Dr. Nammy: My pleasure John.
John: And for more information about Green Dentistry, visit the website sfgreendentist.com or call (415) 433-0119.