Is your smile as bright as the summer sun? A shining smile makes you more confident and approachable. But everyday habits like drinking coffee or tea can leave behind stains on your teeth. Luckily, there’s a variety of effective teeth whitening treatments available to restore your smile to its full radiance.
The First Step
Before you decide on what method is right for you, consult with your dentist. Some treatments might not be a good fit for you, depending on your oral health. It’s tempting to just purchase whitening products from the store, but before you do, set up an appointment with your dentist to discuss the best options for you.
At our offices, we offer whitening treatments that are done over the course of just one hour. These are highly effective, giving you a noticeably whiter smile very quickly. In-office whitening is also safer than at-home treatments because you’re under the care of a professional through every step of the process. Your dental professional will carefully apply a strong whitening gel to the surface of your teeth. This lightens and lifts stains over the course of your appointment.
Professional Whitening at Home
While in-office treatments are quick and effective, some people prefer to create a brighter smile in the comfort of their own home. Most dentists offer tray whitening treatments that patients can take home. This option takes longer than in-office whitening, offering great results in about one week. This method of bleaching requires patients to be fitted for custom trays that fit perfectly over their teeth. Then those trays are filled with a peroxide gel that lifts stains from discolored teeth.
As you know, there are many types of teeth whitening products available at big-box retailers. I always say buyer beware as any do-it-yourself treatment brings risks and consequences that almost never are clearly spelled out on the box and when problems arise (as one chooses to avoid professional care), the victim (patient) is often faced with expensive solutions to their self-induced problems.
- Whitening strips. These flexible, disposable strips have a thin layer of whitening gel that is adhered to your teeth. Kits usually come with strips for the upper teeth and the lower teeth. Users must wear these strips for thirty minutes twice a day for several weeks to see results. It should be noted that since these strips are “one size fits all,” they can fit poorly and cause discomfort for some people.
- Paint-on treatments. This treatment option is exactly what it sounds like﹘ you will “paint” each of your teeth with whitening solution, which hardens to the surface of the tooth and dissolves in the mouth over time. While it may seem similar, this method of whitening is cheaper but also less effective than in-office treatments.
- Whitening Hygiene Products. You can also find toothpastes and mouthwashes that claim to whiten teeth. While these might help with mild surface stains, they’re not as effective on set-in stains and don’t yield the same results as the other treatments we’ve discussed.
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