Everyone wants to have a whiter, brighter smile. Over time, teeth will naturally accumulate stains causing them to look dull and discolored. However, this is a problem that is easily remedied by the various teeth whitening procedures available to individuals. But, how do you know which procedure is right for you?
With such a large number of options, choosing a teeth whitening procedure can seem overwhelming. Understanding the various options available and how they work will help you to decide on a procedure that is right for you. Teeth whitening procedures can be broken down into three main categories: over the counter whitening products, at-home whitening trays and gels, and professional teeth cleaning.
Over the Counter Whitening Products
This is probably the easiest and most affordable of all the teeth whitening options available and includes whitening products such as: toothpaste, mouthwash, whitening strips, chewing gums, and specialized toothbrushes. All these products are designed to treat externally stained teeth and generally contain some type of bleaching agent to brighten teeth. Most of these treatments have unpredictable results and you may have to repeatedly use these products for months before noticeable results are achieved.
At-Home Whitening Trays & Gels
While these are also over the counter, they require more work than the aforementioned category. They are also peroxide-based instead of utilizing bleaching agents. In this way, they can improve internal stains and are somewhat similar to a professional teeth cleaning procedure. However, the concentration of peroxide is much lower since the material is not be applied by a trained dental hygienist.
Gels must be brushed onto the teeth, while the trays are worn for thirty minutes a day. The gels usually take a few days until results are noticed and these results generally last about four months. Trays depend on the type and strength of the treatment you choose. Some dentists offer “take home” trays that they can provide instructions and support for. You will want to take caution when using these types of treatments because overexposure to peroxide can cause tooth sensitivity or gum irritation.
Professional Teeth Cleaning
Professional teeth cleaning is completed by a dentist in a dental clinic. Because of this, it is the most expensive, yet effective method with the lowest rate of complications. During the teeth cleaning procedure, your dentist will use a stronger concentration of bleaching agents designed to bleach the interior and exterior of your teeth. They will also use different tools that help the bleaching agents to penetrate deeper into the tooth, resulting in a brighter, more even whitening. In addition, the procedure usually only needs to be done once and lasts only about thirty minutes to an hour. The results are immediate, and last longer than those from the first two procedure types. Furthermore, there is also less damage done to your teeth’s enamel since dentists use a buffer during the whitening procedure. This means that the risk of developing sensitivity after teeth whitening is drastically reduced. Your gums are also protected during the procedure, again ensuring there is no damage done to them.