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 in-office professional whitening and at-home whitening.
Whitening with your dentist
There are three types of whitening that our patients can do through our office that requre a dentist's supervision or prescription. We are happy to discuss what your goals are and help you select the appropriate whitening system for what you want to achieve.
In some instances, often after a root canal or trauma to a tooth, a tooth can begin to turn color due to internal conditions of the tooth. In these cases, sometimes the tooth can be whitened from the inside by the dentist creating an access hole and placing whitening agent inside the tooth which is then left in the tooth for a certain period of time before being removed. This procedure requires a few brief visits to our office because you will need to have the substance placed and one to remove the substance. In some cases, this process is repeated a couple times to achieve the desired results.
Custom Whitening Trays
Tray bleaching is a type of professional whitening that uses 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.
Prescription Whitening Strips
Our office also stocks prescription whitening strips. There are expensive than making custom whitening trays yet are more powerful than over the counter whitening strips because they have a higher concentration of the active ingredients.
Over the Counter Products
There are numerous systems and brands of over the counter whitening. Each one may have advantages and drawbacks. Before you use any of them we are happy to talk over what you hope to achieve discuss whether the product you are considering will be safe for you and worthwhile.
Paint-On Teeth Whiteners
There are many over-the-counter teeth whitening options, and one type of readily accessible whitening products 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. Paint-on teeth whiteners consist of a gel that is 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 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. 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 shade of the tooth. Whitening toothpastes affect surface stains and will mildly lighten your teeth.
If you would like to learn more about teeth whitening, please contact our practice to schedule an appointment.