Teeth whitening (or bleaching) removes discoloration and stains from tooth enamel to achieve a whiter and brighter smile. While the natural color of teeth can range from light grey to yellow, a white smile is often perceived as a healthy one, explaining the popularity of teeth whitening. New whitening methods and products are continually being developed and there are now a number of different options ranging from easy and gradual at-home solutions to effective and fast professional treatments performed at dental practices. With so many methods on the market, it can be difficult to know what type of bleaching to use. One of the easiest ways to break down the options is to consider the differences between at-home and in-office treatments.
At-Home Teeth Whitening:
All types of toothpaste whiten teeth by using mild abrasives to remove surface plaque and debris. Whitening toothpastes use additional chemicals to lighten tooth color by up to one shade after twice-daily use for around two weeks. This kind of whitening treatment is inexpensive but limited in terms of results. For a more impressive outcome, peroxide must be used to bleach the teeth. Whitening toothpastes can however offer a small amount of ‘backup’ support after more intensive bleaching procedures.
Whitening strips are thin pieces of plastic coated in peroxide attached to teeth for a short time every day and offer a step up in terms of effectiveness. Convenient and easy to use, whitening strips can be used at any time of the day or night. This method of teeth whitening can lighten the shade of teeth by two to four shades in two weeks, with results lasting a few months. Whitening strips are an exceptionally popular way to bleach teeth, but address only the front part of the tooth enamel, ignoring between-the-teeth stains. Users should also be aware that the strips could cause teeth sensitivity and gum irritation when overused.
The last at-home teeth bleaching method uses whitening trays. These are mouth-guards filled with bleaching gel designed to be worn for 30 minutes to several hours every day. The gel contains peroxide and can produce results reasonably quickly, usually after three days. The at-home version of this treatment uses standard-sized trays (available to purchase over-the-counter), which can prove to be uncomfortable and cause gum irritation. The trays can also be expensive but are usable for a number of treatments.
Professional In-office Teeth Whitening:
The most effective and fast teeth bleaching treatment is available at teeth whitening dentists. Results can be quite dramatic, with teeth potentially looking up to eight shades lighter after only 30 or 60 minutes. This effect is achieved by placing a bleaching gel (containing peroxide) directly on the teeth and then activating it with heat and/or light, to break apart the bonds between stained molecules. While this method is by far the most efficient, it is also the most expensive. The procedure is also likely to cause more teeth sensitivity than other treatment options, but the administering dentist will be able to offer advice to counter it.
Another teeth whitening option through your dentist whitening trays. The method is the same as the at-home version, but the mouth-guard will be custom-made and fitted a user’s teeth. This lessens the chance of irritation and helps to provide a better overall result.
At-Home Methods vs. Professional Teeth Whitening:
Cosmetic dentists in Vancouver are qualified professionals, well placed to advise and assist in the quest for whiter and brighter teeth. In-office treatments offer the safest and most effective methods for teeth bleaching around. The cost may be more than at-home treatments, but the results are usually seen quicker. At-home teeth whitening is more convenient and cheaper for most people, though there must be reasonable expectations before starting treatment. For someone looking for quick and dramatic results, at-home treatments are not necessarily the best route to take, despite the convenience.
For all teeth whitening methods, however, it is important to remember that results are temporary. The longevity of treatment results depends on how easily the teeth stain and whether the patient smokes or consumes items, which stain teeth more easily (such as red wine). Your dentist can take these individual circumstances into account before embarking on professional teeth whitening.
At-home treatments offer generic solutions for a range of people, of all ages and lifestyles. When choosing between professional and at-home teeth bleaching, consider the desired results and budget. The phrase ‘you get what you pay for can be considered remarkably accurate in the case of teeth whitening treatments.