Smokers should "whiten up" after kicking the habit

Nov. 9, 2005
Dentist-supervised teeth whitening products remain the best method to help patients erase the nasty stains of tobacco products.

With the Great American Smoke Out on Nov. 17 just around the corner, the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry is joining the efforts in encouraging smokers to kick the habit and reward themselves with a teeth whitening treatment from an AACD member dentist.

"Tobacco users place themselves at an increased risk of oral, lung and throat cancer," said AACD President Dr. Nicholas Davis of Newport Beach, Calif. "In addition to the well-documented health benefits associated with quitting smoking, those who give up tobacco products can dramatically improve their smile by undergoing teeth whitening procedures. Plus, a bright smile is always more appealing when it is accompanied with fresh breath."

The most unattractive thing about a smile is having yellow or discolored
teeth, according to a 2004 AACD scientific poll of the American public. And, According to the American Cancer Society Cigarette Calculator, a tobacco user that smokes an average of two packs of cigarettes per week will spend nearly $400 a year on tobacco � quite a bit to put towards a teeth whitening treatment instead!

Teeth whitening treatments are the number one requested cosmetic dental
procedures, according to a 2004 AACD-Levin Group study of dental practices nationwide. Dentist-supervised teeth whitening products remain the best method to help patients erase the nasty stains of tobacco products.

AACD recommends all patients consult with their local AACD member dentist to review their options for brightening their smile through teeth whitening procedures. The three most common teeth whitening options include:

At-home Dentist-Supervised Treatments - Patients wear a custom-fitted
mouth tray containing whitening gel for a few hours each day or night. Trays can be adjusted to lighten individual teeth. The average patient wears the tray for one to two weeks. Severe tobacco stains can often be removed with extended use of a home whitening system prescribed by an AACD member dentist.

In-Office Power Whitening - A whitening gel containing a high concentration of hydrogen peroxide is applied to the teeth. Desired results can often be achieved in just one visit to an AACD member dentist. Often, at-home treatments, as described above, may be recommended to enhance the effects.

Over-the-Counter Kits - While numerous over-the-counter kits are now
available, dentist-supervised treatments remain the safest way to remove
cigarette stains. OTC trays often fit improperly and can release whitening gel that results in irritated gums and less effective results. A key point to note: dentists can monitor each patient's sensitivity in supervised treatments, but not with OTC kits.