We thought we'd heard it all when it comes to teeth whitening. That is, until we learned about a dentist who uses what she describes as "pore strips" to whiten teeth. Did you know teeth had pores? We're not sure whether to be grossed out, fascinated, or both. Probably both.
"The pores in your teeth are part of the dentin, which is the layer that gives your teeth color," says Dr. Jessica Emery, cosmetic dentist and owner of Sugar Fix Dental Loft in Chicago. And, just like how the pores in our skin can get clogged and form blackheads, Dr. Emery says the tubules in teeth can get blocked, too — with stains. "When we remove the impactions in the tubules of the teeth, the teeth become whiter," she explains. Different from the skin-care strips we all know, though, this process doesn't actually pluck the stains out of the pores. Instead, the process dissolves them, similar to other whitening methods.
Interestingly, these pore strips use carbamide peroxide gel instead of hydrogen peroxide like most whitening treatments. "Carbamide gel releases its whitening power over time instead of all at once," says Dr. Emery. "Hydrogen peroxide stops whitening as soon as it leaves your teeth, but carbamide allows the whitening process to happen for an additional six hours after you leave the chair." Three different layers of the gel are applied to the teeth, and then the pore strip is applied on top. Dr. Emery also uses an LED light, which activates the gel and accelerates the process. After 15 minutes, the strip is pulled off. According to Dr. Emery, after three sessions, teeth are three to five times whiter.
We of course began to wonder if the pores in our teeth could be cleaned simply by brushing them. Dr. Emery compares brushing your teeth to washing your face and the pore strips to professional facials, pointing out that the occasional facial is far more effective at removing blackheads than simply washing your face. "We even have an exfoliant scrub to remove any surface stains first," she says. The more you know.
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