Types of Whitening
When you are looking to lighten your smile, you have many options.
These are the cheapest and easiest to use at home form of whitening. These methods can include:
Toothpastes: These products strictly whiten and will not bleach your teeth. Whitening toothpastes have a mildly abrasive effect, and some can lighten teeth by up to one shade.
Gel: Whitening gel can offer comparable results to strips. The exact treatment regimen will depend on the type and strength of gel you choose.
Rinses: Whitening mouthwash contains small amounts of peroxide. You will use these rinses just as you would use a traditional anti-bacterial mouthwash. Many experts believe that whitening rinses are not as effective as other methods, since the peroxide is only in contact with your teeth for about 60 seconds.
Pre-made whitening trays: Store bought whitening trays often fit uncomfortably. Because they are not customized for your smile, the gel may ooze out and irritate your gum tissue. Dental professionals recommend dentist-provided trays instead.
Strips: Whitening strips are thin pieces of plastic coated in peroxide. You will attach the strips to the front of your teeth, and you will wear them about 30 minutes a day for two weeks. The results typically last around four months. Most experts and consumers agree that whitening strips are the most effective form of do-it-yourself whitening.
Dentist-prescribed whitening offers much more dramatic results than over-the-counter products. At the same time, it is still quite affordable, making it an excellent investment in your smile. If you choose this method, you will receive custom-made whitening trays. They will fit comfortably in your mouth, and you will fill them with whitening gel. This gel will use a lower concentration of peroxide than in-office treatment. Therefore, the procedure will pose little risk for gum sensitivity, even without complete dentist supervision. You will wear the trays for 30 minutes to several hours every day, depending on your dentist’s instructions and the whitening method you use. You could also choose overnight whitening. Home tray whitening lasts longer than office whitening.
In-Office Whitening (Laser Whitening)
In-office care can offer more dramatic results. Your dentist will use whitening gel with a much stronger concentration of peroxide. After an hour or less, the gel will break apart the bonds between stained molecules, giving you a dramatically brighter smile. Many dentists use lasers or specially formatted lights to achieve optimal results. The high-power light will activate the gel, allowing the oxygen to penetrate your teeth more thoroughly. Your dentist may also combine in-office and take-home methods for more dramatic and long-lasting results.
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