/R E P E A T -- April - Oral Health Month - Ordre des dentistes du Québec
says Quebecers should see their dentist before using any tooth whitening

MONTREAL, March 31 /CNW Telbec/ - In a message today for Oral Health Month which begins April 1, the Ordre des dentistes du Québec urges Quebecers to consult their dentist before they begin any tooth whitening treatments. The province's governing body for the dental profession warns that only a dentist has the qualifications to make a diagnosis of an individual's oral health.

Tooth whitening is a process that should be supervised by a dentist, whether it's done in a dental clinic or at home. "The dentist will do a complete mouth examination first to determine whether or not the patient's health is good enough to carry out the treatment. The dentist can then diagnose the reasons why the patient's teeth have changed colour and determine how likely the treatment is to succeed and how long it will take. Last but not least, the dentist can determine which whitening method is best and then follow up on the course of treatment," said Dr. Annie St-Georges, a professor at the Université de Montréal dental faculty.

There are several possible methods for whitening teeth: in-office treatments by the dentist, at home using a special mouth tray or over-the counter whitening products. "All these have their advantages and disadvantages, and it's the dentist's job to steer individual patients toward the method that's most appropriate for them," said Dr. St-Georges.

Tooth whitening with bleaching products is a safe choice if it's done under a dentist's supervision and the manufacturer's recommendations are carefully followed. But it may not be right for everyone. People who have numerous fillings or crowns or who suffer from a critical illness absolutely must consult their dentist before starting any treatment. The Ordre des dentistes also suggests that women who are pregnant or breastfeeding delay any whitening treatment until after they've given birth or finished breastfeeding. No tooth whitening products should be used on anyone under 12 years old.

About the Ordre des dentistes du Québec

The Ordre des dentistes du Québec has a membership of 4,455 dentists. Its mission is to guarantee the quality of services in dental medicine through compliance with high standards of practice and ethics, and to promote oral health among the Quebec population.

    Oral Health Month
    Tooth whitening
    April 2010


    April is Oral Health Month. Given the very great popularity of tooth
    whitening treatments, the Ordre des dentistes du Québec would like to
    remind the public that we strongly recommend consulting a dentist BEFORE
    you begin any tooth whitening treatment.

    Tooth whitening FAQ
    Q. Why should you consult your dentist before you begin a tooth whitening

    A. A dentist is the only one who can make a complete and accurate
    diagnosis of a patient's oral health. To do this, your dentist can:

    - Perform a complete mouth examination
    - Make sure you're in good health and able to safely undergo whitening
      treatment. Whitening treatments are not recommended for anyone
      suffering from a critical illness, with a weakened immune system, or
      anyone who is pregnant or breastfeeding.
    - Make a diagnosis of why a change of tooth colour occurred, determine
      how long the whitening treatment may need to take, how likely it will
      succeed... and answer any other questions you may have.
    - Determine and recommend the treatment method that's right for you.
    - Last but not least, your dentist can check your teeth regularly to see
      how well the treatment is working.

    Q. What products are used in tooth whitening treatments?

    A. There are two types of products for whitening teeth:

    1. Bleaching products. These actually bleach the teeth, which means that
       the colour of the enamel is in fact changed. They contain peroxide, a
       chemical agent that makes it possible to reduce deep stains as well as
       surface discolorations.
    2. Whitening products. These products don't bleach the teeth. Instead,
       they contain agents that simply remove surface stains (e.g. whitening
       toothpastes, mouthwashes and chewing gum).

    Q. What are the different treatment methods for whitening teeth?

    A. There are several possible treatments:

    - In-office whitening performed by the dentist
    - In-office and at-home (mouth tray)
    - At-home (mouth tray) with follow-up
    - Over-the-counter whitening products

    Q. Why do I need follow-up?

    A. During the whitening treatment and once it's finished, your dentist
    will check carefully to determine:

    - Tooth colour
    - Sensitivity
    - Side effects, if any
    - Whether or not you still want to continue the treatment

    Q. What do you mean by side effects?

    A. Tooth whitening that uses bleaching products is a safe procedure if
    it's carried out under a dentist's supervision and if the manufacturer's
    recommendations about how to use the product are respected. It's easy to
    make a mistake about which product is best for you, and dentists are
    qualified to know whether or not you can undergo the treatment. Side
    effects can vary, depending on a patient's state of health. Sensitivity
    to pain is one of the most common effects. Patients who have many
    fillings, crowns or deep stains absolutely must consult their dentist
    before starting treatment. People who suffer from critical illness must
    also be examined before starting any treatment. The Ordre des dentistes
    also suggests that women who are pregnant or breastfeeding delay any
    whitening treatment until after they've given birth or finished
    breastfeeding. Children under 12 should not use tooth whitening products.

SOURCE Ordre des dentistes du Québec

For further information: For further information: or to arrange an interview with Dr. Annie St-Georges, official spokesperson for the Ordre des dentistes du Québec: Élise Proulx, SFi Relations Publiques, (450) 732-0788, elise.proulx@videotron.ca

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