There are many products and techniques available for patients who want to achieve a brighter smile, and with so many options available, it can be difficult to choose the method that is right for you. The best way to begin any teeth-whitening regimen is to schedule an appointment and talk to your doctor about the differences between professional whitening and at-home whitening.
In-Office Teeth Whitening
We do not do this type of teeth whitening as we believe it is no better than tray whitening at home (both use the same custom-made trays detailed in the next section), yet it costs more and is less convenient. The bright "activating light" often used with in-office whitening has been shown to make no difference and only creates the appearance of extra value.
At-Home Teeth Whitening
Tray bleaching is our preferred type of professional whitening, using custom-made trays and whitening gel only available through your dentist. The whitening gel is placed in custom-fitted trays that fit perfectly over your teeth. As the peroxide in the gel breaks down, hydroxyradicals help whiten stained teeth. Unlike strips, this process whitens all your natural teeth and may contain ingredients intended to provide maximum comfort. At-home professional tray whitening generally takes ten to 14 days, although you may notice results in as little as three to five days.
Teeth-whitening strips are thin, flexible plastic (polyethylene) strips with a thin film of hydrogen peroxide on one side. Whitening strip kits come with two types of strips: strips for the upper teeth and strips for the lower teeth. The whitening agent is applied by placing the strips across your teeth and gently pressing the strips to ensure contact with all your teeth. The effect is weaker and the strips are only made to cover the front teeth. Duration of treatment will vary greatly.
Whitening Toothpaste and Mouthwash
The least expensive options are whitening toothpastes and mouthwashes. Designed to have “whitening” capabilities, toothpastes and mouthwashes work to remove surface stains using mild abrasives. However, unlike the materials used in professional whitening procedures, these products do not lighten the actual color shade of the tooth. Whitening toothpastes affect surface stains and will mildly lighten your teeth. Caution should be taken in using whitening toothpaste long term as the increased abrasion will permanently erode enamel.
If you would like to learn more about teeth whitening, please contact our practice to schedule an appointment.