Many products and techniques are available for patients who want to achieve a brighter smile. With so many options available, it can be difficult to choose the method that is right for you.
Professional Teeth Whitening
Tray bleaching is a type of professional whitening that uses custom-made trays and whitening gel only available through a 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 over-the-counter strips, this process whitens all your natural teeth permanently and may contain ingredients intended to provide maximum comfort. At-home professional tray whitening generally takes 20 to 25 days, although you may notice results in as little as five days. Although regarded as permanent, certain drinks like coffee and tea can slowly stain your teeth again. The tray can be saved and utilized another time in the future to remove new stains in a few days if needed.
Non-Professional Whitening Alternatives
Paint-On Teeth Whiteners
There are many over-the-counter teeth-whitening options. One type of readily-accessible whitening product is commonly referred to as a “paint-on” teeth whitener. Paint-on whiteners can be purchased over the counter and generally are less expensive and less effective than whitening strips or professional options.
They consist of a gel applied to the tooth using a small brush. Paint-on whitening gel hardens into a film that coats the teeth, and dissolves in the mouth. As with any teeth-whitening regimen, it is wise to consult with a dental professional before use.
Teeth-whitening strips are thin, flexible plastic (polyethylene) strips with a 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.
The whitening agent is applied by placing the strips across your teeth and gently pressing them to ensure contact with all your teeth. Teeth-whitening strips are typically worn for 30 minutes a day, twice a day. The duration of treatment will vary.
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 or shade of the tooth. Whitening toothpastes affect surface stains and will mildly lighten your teeth. Caution should be exercised when using these products over the long term, because they can result in generalized tooth sensitivity.
If you would like to learn more about teeth whitening, please contact our practice to schedule an appointment.