With all the over-the-counter remedies and professional techniques for whitening your teeth, making the right choice for your unique situation can be a tedious process. While there is no harm in doing the research and selecting a preferred method on your own, your best bet is scheduling an appointment to discuss your options with Dr. Barganier, Dr. Bale, Dr. Olson or one of our professional dental hygienists.
Professional (in-office) Teeth Whitening
“In-office” whitening is the most common method of brightening your smile that involves a trip to your dentist. Professional, or “in-office,” whitening refers to treatment with a hydrogen-peroxide-based whitening gel that is enhanced by a special lamp or whitening laser. The application of the light during the procedure accelerates the whitening effect achieve by the peroxide, so that you will see results immediately after the procedure is over. A professional whitening visit will usually take about 90 minutes and consists of two simple steps. First, you will have whitening gel applied to your teeth, and second, we will treat you with the light source. Afterwards, you will have a noticeably brighter smile.
Teeth Whitening from the Comfort of Your Home
Another common type of professional whitening is known as tray bleaching. You can only get this treatment though your dentist, but the treatment itself takes place at home. During a visit to Dr. Barganier, we will fit you with custom trays and provide whitening gel. At home, you simply fill the trays with the gel and place them in your mouth. Because they are specially created for your mouth, the fit is perfect and every natural tooth is whitened evenly. This process uses a peroxide-based whitener, which works by producing chemicals that remove stains and actively whiten teeth. Tray whitening is a professional method, so it’s pricier than store-bought options, but results are achieved in 10 to 14 days (often noticeable in three to five days). Additionally, these treatments may contain comfort-enhancing ingredients.
Paint-On Teeth Whiteners
Paint-on teeth whiteners are one of the many store-bought treatments available in a number of locations. They are not as effective as professional methods or whitening strips, but they usually cost less than their counterparts. Paint-on whiteners come with a small brush that is used to apply a gel to the teeth. This gel is designed to harden and protect teeth from stains.
Teeth Whitening Strips
Teeth whitening strips contain a thin layer of hydrogen peroxide and a safe adhesive on a plastic strip so they can be placed directly on the teeth and worn for the duration of the treatment, which is usually half an hour, twice daily. Depending on the brand and potency of the whitening strips, the total treatment time can be anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.
Whitening Toothpaste and Mouthwash
If you are looking for a very inexpensive and widely available whitening system, whitening toothpastes and mouthwashes may be the perfect option. It is important to understand, however, that these products are not specifically designed to whiten teeth, but rather, have ingredients that assist in whitening. In addition, the mild abrasives that give them their whitening properties simply eliminate superficial surface stains, as opposed to changing the shade of your tooth (as professional methods do). That being said, they are effective on surface stains and produce some whitening results.
The best way to make this decision is with the help of a dental professional. We are always happy to help. Give us a call today to schedule a whitening consultation.