Teeth Whitening 101

For those who want a whiter smile, the options have never been more plentiful. The below choices range from the least expensive and most time-consuming to more expensive options. In most cases, faster results can be gained from paying a bit more. For a better idea of how to whiten your smile by several levels, whether it's at home or in the dentist's chair, read below.

Do It Yourself Kits

More and more toothpaste makers are coming out with special formulas said to whiten your smile. After all, you have to brush your teeth anyway, why not whiten them at the same time? Toothpaste may very gradually whiten your teeth over time, but it may take a while to notice any difference. That means those wanting a brighter smiling in time for a wedding or vacation should probably speak to their dentist about some faster and more dramatic whitening methods. Other at-home options are whitening pens, gels, and trays.

Dental Office Whitening

To get teeth their brightest and whitest, some form of bleach is used. Just like a bit of cleaner with bleach removes the tea stains from a cup, so does it remove years of stains from your teeth. Bleach, though, can be a dangerous substance if not carefully used. Many at-home bleaching kits use very small levels of bleach in the solution. Compare that to the stronger bleaching agents used by professionals. These bleaching agents may be used in the dentist's office, but they can be used at home under a dentist's care and control. In addition, using bleach and special lights together enhances and speeds up the bleaching process and those lights too can be dangerous in the hands of non-trained individuals.

Tips to Remember

  1. Whether you go with an at-home kit or have your dentist do the whitening, begin with clean teeth. Get a professional cleaning so that the bleaching agents can do a better job. It also allows for more accurate before and after photo measurements.
  2. Strong bleaching agents can irritate gums and other areas. Your dentist will coat your gums with a protective gel and use a dental dam as well.
  3. If you don't want to sit for a long session, you may find that more frequent but shorter sessions of bleaching work better for you.

The results possible with professional bleaching can be amazing to behold. Speak to your dentist to find out more.