Teeth whitening is the most popular cosmetic procedure that dentists perform today. It can have a dramatic effect on your smile at a smaller cost than other cosmetic procedures. You can whiten your teeth yourself using at-home techniques, but often professional whitening with your dentist’s help achieves the fastest and most effective results.
Let’s examine the whitening options provided by most dentists to help you evaluate what might work for you.
Whitening at your dentist’s office
The dentist applies a whitening product to your teeth containing higher percentages of hydrogen peroxide than what is available in at-home kits. Heat or light may be used also. This technique produces quick, uniform results, but it does sometimes cause temporary gum irritation or tooth sensitivity.
Home whitening supervised by your dentist
A customized mouthpiece will be created by your dentist for you to fill at home with whitening gel, which contains a lower strength of hydrogen peroxide then the in-office gel. You wear the mouthpiece at home for several hours each day, and your dentist supervises the whitening with regular checkups. Although this method is convenient and less expensive than chair side whitening, it produces slower results.
Repeating the process
Whichever type of teeth whitening technique you might choose, remember that it isn’t a permanent repair to your teeth. You will need to repeat the process every year or two. The length of time between treatments will increase if you don’t smoke and avoid foods that are known to stain your teeth, such as coffee and red wine.