Whitening Options for a More Radiant Smile
Over the past decade, patients have more options for whitening teeth. From in-office laser bleaching to at home whitening strips, we have listed options that can provide you with a whiter, more radiant smile. Feel free to ask our office about a whitening method for your smile at your next dental visit.
Take home trays:
The best results have been seen using this method. We would use an impression of your lower and upper jaw to create a custom tray that fits snugly over teeth. When ready to whiten at home, a small amount of bleaching solution made, with peroxide, is inserted into the trays. Depending on the strength of the solution, trays may be worn from anywhere to thirty to overnight. The best results are seen when patients are following directions and wearing their trays from the time and frequency as directed by their dentist. Typical whitening time for at-home trays is about two weeks. However, patients can stop whitening once they’ve achieved their desired result.
In office ZOOM:
This is for the person who wants instant gratification or someone who knows they will not wear the trays every night. Zoom whitening uses a similar peroxide bleaching solution as take-home trays. However, the solution is stronger and it is activated using a light. Typically, dentists will also send in-office whitening patients home with custom trays in order to refine whitening to achieve the desired result. Because the light and bleaching solution dry out the teeth, the immediate result often appears brighter than a several hours after whitening.
Over the counter whitening strips:
Whitening strips are one of the cheapest options for a brighter smile. They do work and contain a peroxide solution that is much less potent than the at-home solution prescribed by dentists. Strips are also difficult to place and keep in the mouth. They will provide a minimal result. In some cases they can cause splotching or an uneven whitening. Strips may be a good solution for those who are seeking to simply refine their previous whitening.
Whitening toothpastes remove surface stains only. Unlike the other whitening methods listed above, they do not change the natural color of the teeth. They work by using special abrasives that remove stain or chemicals that break down the stain.
A note about whitening your smile: If you have many fillings on your teeth, be advised that fillings will not change color, only your natural tooth will be affected by the bleach. Also, some patients may feel sensitivity to whitening gels. In some cases, whitening systems come with a “desensitizing agent” that can be placed over the teeth prior to whitening. Also, when patients feel sensitivity, dentists prescribe gels that are less concentrated, and patients can brush with toothpastes designed to decrease sensitivity. If a patient experiences excessive sensitivity they will likely be asked to stop the whitening process. For those that are not good candidates for traditional whitening options, there are other ways to achieve a brighter smile with cosmetic dentistry.
To keep your teeth white you will need to stay away from anything that stains your teeth (coffee, wine and berries). This holds true especially when whitening as the process opens the “pores” of your teeth which makes you more susceptible to staining.
If you’re seeking a brighter smile, ask your dentist or hygienist about options that are right for you.