Littleton, CO dentist Dr. Guy Grabiak and team celebrate case study award for long-term healthy results with their patient.

The Downside of DIY Teeth Whitening – & the Better Options Available to You

Jun 26, 2024 | Cosmetic Dentistry

Everyone’s teeth get darker as they age. They get stained. The enamel gets thinner, so the darker dentin just underneath it shows through. It’s a fact of life – and the reason why a little smile brightening can help you look younger, no Botox or PRP/PRF injections required.

With so many over-the-counter teeth whitening products available – and no shortage of TikTok influencers swearing by this one or that – it also seems something you can do easily and cheaply at home.

Of course, if you want the best results, though, you need a dental professional to do the work for you. And we’re not just saying this because we work in a dental office.

For one, we can make sure that your teeth are whitened to a color that’s a good aesthetic fit with your natural skin tone. They’ll look more natural, not like chiclet teeth. We can also make sure that any crowns or other dental work you have will still match with the rest of your teeth.

True story: Bleaching agents don’t work on the dental materials used to make tooth-colored restorations.

Most importantly, we do the smile brightening with your safety and ongoing oral health in mind. Some bleaching products can be harsh on your gums or cause sensitive teeth. We are mindful of the products we use and how we use them to minimize gingival damage and the risk of enamel erosion.

In fact, the quality of home whitening products can be a bit of a crapshoot at times.

Just recently, a review was published in the Journal of Dentistry, which analyzed results from 88 studies on over-the-counter whitening products. The vast majority were toothpastes and whitening strips. “Most clinical studies indicate” that the strips “are effective in improving tooth color and providing whitening benefits.” Other products? Not so much.

A 2021 paper in Frontiers in Dental Medicine similarly found that whitening strips “are the only OTC products able to promote bleaching.” Most products, its authors noted, “seem to be effective only in removing extrinsic stains or preventing their formation over enamel.”

Another problem is that some of these products aren’t exactly what’s advertised, as recently shown in a study in Heliyon that looked at online whitening products. Of the five peroxide gels the researchers ordered, two had a higher concentration of peroxide than stated on the label. Two others had concentrations roughly 80% lower than stated. One sample had no active ingredient at all.

Making it worse is that none of the ingredients were disclosed online, and only 4 of the 5 included that information on their insert. Most websites for these products emphasized product safety, yet seldom was any precautionary info offered.

Are natural at-home whitening methods any better? According to a 2023 study in the Saudi Dental Journal, baking soda, activated charcoal, and lemon juice were each found to provide at least some whitening, though not as much as the products they tested, and because of its acidity, lemon juice isn’t something you should be applying to your teeth.

No evidence was found to support the whitening effect of strawberries, despite more than a few websites claiming otherwise.

KoR Whitening System Here in our office, we use the KöR Whitening System for patients who want a whiter, brighter smile. It works by restoring your teeth’s ability to absorb oxygen through a unique process that allows the whitening gel to penetrate deep into the tooth structure, effectively dissolving and removing stain molecules. KöR is safe, yet strong enough to remove even tetracycline stains, which have long been considered challenging to treat.

KöR’s effectiveness lies in its scientifically formulated gel and innovative delivery method. The gel is kept refrigerated from the moment it’s manufactured until it reaches our office, ensuring maximum potency. When applied using custom-fitted trays, the gel remains active for an extended period, allowing for more thorough and long-lasting whitening. Many patients enjoy their brighter smile for years to come, with only occasional at-home maintenance.

Curious about whether KöR is a good option for your holistic cosmetic dental needs? Contact us today! We’d love to talk with you.

lizmar thurber

Noelle Jones

Office Manager

With a robust career spanning over 20 years in the dental sector, Noelle Jones has developed a profound expertise that blends technical proficiency with visionary leadership. Starting her journey as a dental assistant, Noelle has continually expanded her skill set and knowledge base. She pursued higher education at Georgia Perimeter College, where she completed programs in dental lab technology, chairside assisting, and business management. In 2024, Noelle found her perfect match in the professional world at Denver Dentistry, a practice that embraces the principles of biological dentistry. This role not only marks a significant step in her career but also profoundly shifts her perspective on the impact dental health has on the rest of the body. Beyond her professional endeavors, Noelle is an avid adventurer who loves exploring the natural beauty of Colorado. She is on a quest to hike all the "14ers" in the state. When not scaling peaks, she enjoys traveling and cherishing moments with her husband and their three beloved dogs. Noelle's dedication to dental excellence and her commitment to a holistic approach in her field make her a pivotal member of the Denver Dentistry team.

The foundation of providing safe and personalized holistic care begins by getting to know you and your goals for your oral health and overall health, both short term and long term. Dr. Grabiak will then learn about your family’s dental and medical history, along with your dental and medical history. Afterwards, we begin your exam by taking a sample of your saliva (Sillha), checking for seven different biomarkers. That same day, we will send you home with a report showing how you scored in those different biomarker categories.

The head and neck examination is often overlooked by busy clinicians but it is as crucial as an element of the oral cancer examination. Dr. Grabiak begins his exam outside of the mouth by starting with a soft tissue check of the neck and the jaw. A thorough head and neck examination is essential for detecting early skin cancers, any overdeveloped jaw muscles that may be contributing towards bruxism, and enlarged lymph nodes that may indicate an active virus or infection.

After the extraoral exam, Dr. Grabiak begins his extensive intraoral exam. During Dr. Grabiak’s exam he is evaluating the teeth, uvula, mucosal tissues, tongue, floor of the mouth, hard and soft palate, and the oropharynx. Part of this exam includes taking high-definition photos of the mouth, all at different angles so you can see exactly what he is seeing. Our hygienist will then come in and complete a comprehensive periodontal assessment. In some cases, Dr. Grabiak and your hygienist may recommend additional testing to get to the root cause of the evidence of symptoms they are seeing in your mouth. This entire process takes roughly an hour. In some cases, depending on what Dr. Grabiak and your hygienist had found during their exam we will invite you back for a follow-up appointment called review of findings.

In preparation for the review of findings, Dr. Grabiak and your hygienist will take the time to evaluate all of the data that was collected from your examination and testing to determine your specific needs. At your review of findings appointment Dr. Grabiak will sit down with you one on one to review the data that was collected from your appointment, along with any recommendations. This allows you the time to ask Dr. Grabiak any questions that you may have about your treatment recommendations and expectations from treatment.

Jeromy Mulkey

Jeromy Mulkey

Operations Manager

Jeromy earned his Bachelor of Science in Finance from New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, New Mexico. His journey in the dental field began when he moved to Colorado in 2015 from Hannibal, New York, a small town outside of Syracuse. Starting as a patient coordinator in corporate dental, Jeromy quickly advanced to office manager and eventually managed multiple offices for a DSO, including specialty practices over the next 4 years. In 2019, his transition to holistic dentistry at Denver Dentistry began. This transition brought new challenges and a renewed passion for learning about the latest sciences and technologies integrated into their practice. Since starting at Denver Dentistry, Jeromy has enjoyed learning about safe mercury removal (SMART Protocol), airway management, ozone, salivary testing, biocompatibility testing for materials, heavy metals testing, and the systemic and oral health connection. Jeromy currently resides in Littleton, enjoying the proximity to the mountains. Outside of work, he cherishes time spent with his wife and daughter and enjoys activities such as snowboarding, bouldering, paintball, soccer, basketball, camping, and hiking. Jeromy's dedication to delivering exceptional customer service and contributing to the team's mission of bringing more healthy smiles to satisfied patients is at the core of his professional ethos.
Chelsea White

Jazmin Contreras

Dental Hygiene Assistant

A native of Guatemala and raised in Carbondale, Colorado, Jazmin Contreras embarked on her medical journey with a degree in Kinesiology from Colorado Mesa University, where she graduated at the top of her class in 2020. Her early professional life included a significant role in a chiropractic office, where she gained an appreciation for the interconnectedness of whole-body health. This experience laid the groundwork for her holistic view of healthcare. Fluent in both English and Spanish, Jazmin leveraged her linguistic skills as a medical interpreter, greatly enhancing her communication capabilities and deepening her understanding of patient needs and concerns. This role proved essential in her development as a healthcare provider, enabling her to effectively bridge cultural and linguistic barriers in medical settings. Jazmin's career trajectory took a definitive turn when she joined Denver Dentistry. Under the guidance of Dr. Grabiak, she was introduced to an innovative holistic approach to dental care that aligned with her own values and aspirations. It was here that Jazmin found her calling, thriving in an environment that embraced both traditional and alternative medical philosophies. Known for her robust critical thinking and problem-solving skills, Jazmin is passionate about educating her patients on the nuances of holistic dentistry. She is dedicated to demystifying dental care, ensuring her patients not only receive top-notch treatment but also understand the broader implications of oral health on overall well-being. When not at the clinic, Jazmin and her husband indulge in the great outdoors, pursuing activities such as hiking, camping, and kayaking. These adventures not only satisfy their love for nature but also provide Jazmin with a refreshed perspective and renewed energy, which she brings back to her patients and her practice.
lizmar thurber

Lizmar Thurber

Expanded Duties Dental Assistant

Lizmar Thurber is a highly experienced Expanded Duties Dental Assistant, distinguished by her extensive background in both traditional and holistic dental practices. Her educational journey began at the University of Florida, College of Dentistry’s Division of Continuing Education, where she specialized in Expanded Duties of Dental Auxiliary Personnel, Radiological Health, and Safety in 2002. She further enhanced her credentials by earning a Bachelor of Science in Biology with an emphasis in Pre-Medicine from Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Arizona, in 2015. In her role, Lizmar leverages a robust skill set tailored to holistic dental care. She has a profound understanding of holistic health practices and is skilled in using biocompatible materials for dental procedures, such as fillings and crowns, to reduce toxicity. Her empathetic demeanor and excellent interpersonal skills are pivotal in alleviating patient fears, thereby creating a comforting and reassuring environment. Known for her bilingual proficiency in English and Spanish, Lizmar effectively communicates with a diverse patient base, providing clear explanations of holistic dental treatments and procedures. Lizmar's exceptional communication abilities and her capacity to adapt to various treatment modalities are essential in navigating the unique aspects of holistic dental care. Her versatility and adaptability make her an invaluable asset to any dental team, enhancing patient care with a comprehensive, patient-centered approach. Beyond her professional endeavors, Lizmar cherishes the time spent with her family. Together with her husband, and their sons, she actively participates in various sports activities. They frequently travel for the Colorado Prospects baseball club and engage in other sports like basketball and soccer. Additionally, Lizmar serves her community as a worship pastor, where she shares her passion for music and guides others in their spiritual journey with Christ.

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