They might try at home, using one of the many home-use tooth whitening products, but they might also use their dentist to get their teeth whitened. The home-use products are somewhat inconsistent in their effectiveness. Dental whitening, on the other hand, is almost sure to achieve the desired result: white teeth!
Dental Tooth Whitening
Dental tooth whitening resembles home-use products in that both involve the use of a whitening gel that is placed in a tray laid over the teeth. The active ingredient in the gel used by your dentist is carbamide peroxide, and that is absorbed into the enamel of the teeth and serves to break down and bleach stains created by the various substances that can stain teeth. Whitening performed in our office will generally whiten teeth five to ten shades. Based on our years of experience with tooth whitening, we consider this procedure to be completely effective. We have also found the procedure to be safe.
Two procedures we use for in-office tooth whitening are Opalescence Boost and Zoom Whitening. Opalescence Boost involves the use of a chemically-active whitening agent that will present results in one hour or less. No heat or ultraviolet light are needed for Opalescence Boost, and it relies on potassium nitrate for whitening and includes fluoride to strengthen the enamel in your teeth and help with cavity prevention. This combines tooth whitening and improved dental hygiene in one procedure.
Laser Tooth Whitening
Laser is also used as a tool in tooth whitening. In the laser tooth whitening procedure, a whitening gel is applied to each tooth, and the gel is then gently heated with laser light to activate the gel and enhance its whitening effectiveness. The procedure uses a bleaching gel that is activated by laser to provide quick, dramatic results. Gentle laser energy allows for warming of the whitening gel to speed up whitening and improve results. Laser is one of the most effective tooth cleaning procedures of all, cleaning teeth safely and quickly.
At Home Tooth Whitening Options
Tooth whitening at home is generally attempted with one of the over-the-counter whitening products such as Crest Whitestrips©. Home-use products are generally less effective than procedures performed in the dentist’s office. There is less brightness achieved by these products than by dental procedures. Also, the effects are not as long-lasting. Products are provided in different strengths, and the stronger at-home products do provide a brighter appearance, but it is still less bright and not as long-lasting as dental procedures. The cost may be less for these products than for dental care, and they are readily available at drug stores and grocery stores, but they are less effective. The most that can be hoped for from any over-the-counter tooth whitening product is a whitening of two to three shades.
Take-Home Whitening Kits From the Dentist
We also provide take-home tooth whitening kits at our office. Our take-home kits also include an exam in our office and creation of plastic trays that cover teeth to the gumline. The trays are soft and flexible, and comfortable to wear. They are filled for use with a carbamide peroxide gel, and instructions for use are given by the dentist. Because the trays are made to fit and used with instructions, our take-home kits are more effective than over-the-counter products. The kits also allow people to whiten their teeth at home, without coming to the office for treatment.
How Long Whitened Teeth Will Remain Whitened
Generally, the tooth whitening procedure applied by the dentist will remain effective for 12 months or even longer. Compare this with the duration of at-home products, with whitening that will ordinarily remain noticeable for only one to three months. Teeth may become stained again in any event, if those substances that initially cause the staining are used again after teeth are whitened. This means that in order to maintain whitened teeth, it may be necessary to repeat the teeth whitening procedure once per year or once every two years. Even though the process is completely effective, it is not permanent.
The Future of Tooth Whitening
Tooth whitening is not a completely new procedure, and people have sought to whiten their teeth even since ancient times. Goat milk, honey, and salt have been among the many substances recommended for tooth whitening since early times, all with varying degrees of success. Today, of course, tooth whitening procedures have been developed and proven effective by scientists and skilled dental professionals. Teeth can be whitened, and whether you choose to pursue whitened teeth only with over-the-counter products or with assistance from your dentist might depend on factors including cost and relative effectiveness. If you want to make sure the treatment will be effective and durable, dental tooth whitening is the best choice to make. With help from your dentist, you can have whitened teeth, and even healthier teeth, within days.