So you want to give yourself a brighter, whiter smile. But what is your best bet for whitening your teeth? Here, our Dartmouth vets explain your teeth whitening options and the effects that they have.
What is teeth whitening?
Teeth whitening is a cosmetic dental procedure that is designed to lighten the colour of your teeth using peroxide-based bleaching agents. As the active ingredient in your teeth whitener breaks down, the oxygen acts on your teeth, creating a whiter appearance.
What are my options for teeth whitening?
These days, there are many options for whitening your teeth. It can become a bit difficult to even choose the one that is right for you since each method has its own advantages. As with any other procedure, there are also some risks and disadvantages to your options.
In-Office Teeth Whitening
The most effective teeth whitening procedures are performed by your dentist in a dental office. This is because the whitening agents in your dentist’s gel are much stronger and produce much more effective results than over-the-counter products.
This procedure usually lasts about one hour. Your dentist will use a concentrated whitening solution to remove surface stains from your teeth and lighten the natural colour of your enamel. This will be a bit more efficient than at-home whitening solutions, which can take days or weeks to be completed.
At-Home Professional Teeth Whitening Trays
This take-home option would be supervised by your dentist. During an initial visit to your dentist, a dental impression will be created to make your whitening trays.
You will bring the whitening trays home and manage the whitening process yourself. You will wear the whitening gel anywhere between 30 and 60 minutes each day for between 1 and 3 weeks depending on what you have been prescribed by your dentist.
The whitening solution will gradually remove surface stains from your teeth and lighten their natural colour.
Whitening toothpastes work to remove surface stains and slightly whiten your teeth. However, keep in mind that whitening toothpastes will not affect the natural colour of your teeth, and they will be unable to lighten stains that have penetrated below the tooth’s surface.
Toothpastes that strengthen your enamel can help you to defend your teeth from cavities and protect your enamel from further damage, preventing stains from developing in the first place.
These small plastic strips are coated with peroxide-based gel. When you apply the strip to your teeth, the peroxide coating removes surface stains, lightening the colour of your teeth.
You would typically apply whitening strips daily for a 2- to 3-week period, and keep them on for no more than 30 minutes at a time. Because these products contain only a small amount of peroxide, you will usually see only subtle results.
Porcelain veneers are very thin strips of porcelain affixed to the front of your teeth to change their colour, symmetry and shape.
If only one or a few of your teeth are discoloured, porcelain veneers may be a practical solution to even out the colour of your teeth.
How do I know which are the best teeth whitening products?
The best teeth whitening option for you will depend on a number of factors, from personal preference to your budget.
You may want to consider looking up teeth whitening reviews online for tips and ideas from other people who have opted to take the professional and/or at-home route.