Tooth Whitening for Karen?
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  • Cleveland-300x199

I wanted to share Karen’s lovely smile – so I snapped the attached photo. Her teeth are perfectly aligned and are the right size and shape.  The proportions are appropriate.  Her gums and the underlying attachment apparatus are healthy.  She has a broad arch and a wide smile.  She shows the right amount of gum tissue.  (The left lip lifts slightly higher – but thats ok with me.)  She comes into the office regularly for exams and preventive care and for me to admire her lovely smile.  Her tooth color has darkened somewhat with age – this is natural as she doesn’t smoke or drink red wine.  We have discussed tooth whitening – in office whitening or with at-home bleaching trays.  Then her very lovely smile will really dazzle!

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Have you noticed those teeth whitening kiosks at the mall? These kiosks are manned by unlicensed individuals who are hired by “tooth whitening companies.” These salespeople take a weekend training session and then go out to the mall to sell white teeth. This is a big problem. Whitening teeth is a dental procedure and it requires knowledge to recognize when whitening is appropriate for a given patient. Before whitening teeth, a dental practitioner needs to recognize gum disease, decay, stained fillings, and other oral conditions. Dentists go to dental school, to dental residencies, and take long hours of continuing education in order to be proficient in their field.

The State of Tennessee has taken the lead in requiring whitening treatments to be performed only by licensed dentists, dental hygienists, or registered dental assistants supervised by a dentist. The unanimous ruling was recently handed down by the Tennessee Board of Dentistry because of complaints to the state about the kiosks. The board oversees and regulates dental safety issues in the state. For our public safety, lets hope that New York State (and that includes Long Island) will follow the standards set by Tennessee and outlaw the illegal practice of dentistry in the state’s malls!

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