Teeth stains, although bothersome in appearance, are common and are frequently caused by food and drinks. Wine, coffee, soda, and red pasta sauce are just a few of the culprits that can leave your pearly whites not-so-white. Fortunately, whitening products and treatments are readily available, meaning that your smile can be brighter and whiter in no time.
So…which teeth whitening method is right for you?
Teeth whitening products
Teeth whitening products are intended for natural teeth free from hardware; for example, whitening is never recommended for those with braces as that would create uneven tones once the braces are removed. If your dentist agrees that you are a good candidate for whitening, you have several whitening options available including:
- Toothpaste: Although tubes of toothpaste are the least expensive whitening product and the easiest to use, whitening pastes usually cannot whiten more than one shade.
- Rinses: Another easy to use option, whitening mouthwashes are easy to find in stores, but they are not ideal for removing tough stains; these are best for maintenance.
- Strips: Whitening strips are a more effective at-home route, but they can cause gum sensitivity and can slide off your teeth easily.
- Gels and trays: Both OTC and professionally made trays work by allowing the bleaching agent a chance to sit on the teeth for a specified amount of time.
Overall, the whitening products purchased over-the-counter contain weaker whitening solutions than those used or obtained from the dentist’s office, which means that the entire process may take longer to obtain your desired shade.
Teeth whitening at home
Teeth whitening treatments are not limited to just OTC or in-office treatments. For an individual looking for the strength of professional whitening with the convenience of the in-home treatments, there is an option to use professional treatments at home. The take-home systems from the dentist are far superior to the generic trays at the drug store. Thanks to a customized tray that fits your mouth perfectly, no messy gel leaks out of an ill-fitting, one-size-fits-all tray.
In-office teeth whitening performed by the dentist
For the most effective and efficient whitening, opt for the in-office Zoom Whitening. Unlike toothpaste and rinses that work gradually over weeks or months, the in-office treatments are more powerful, resulting in brighter smiles in about one hour’s time.
Teeth whitening procedure
Regardless of which teeth whitening procedure you select, the underlying procedure is similar: a whitening agent is applied to the surface of the teeth. While many people refer to whitening as getting their teeth “bleached,” most products contain peroxide, which works by removing stains on the porous surface of each tooth.
In the case of toothpaste and mouthwashes, these products are used daily. In the case of strips or trays, a gel is applied to teeth via the strip or the tray; instructions vary, but some of these are recommended twice daily for the duration of the treatment.
The in-office treatments still involve the placement of a whitening solution on the teeth, but the procedure is more involved. After a protective gel is applied (which is not a standard part of OTC treatments), a special light-activated gel is applied. Once the gel is applied, a dental laser is used to boost the whitening power of the gel.
If you’re unsure which whitening route to take, speak with your dentist to discuss your specific needs.