Peggy Storr RDH
When considering whitening your teeth, the options may seem confusing. There are many products that you can buy over the counter, online, or in your dental office; should you whiten at home, should you go in and have it done professionally, or just cross your fingers and hope that your toothpaste will do what it says it will do?
For starters, many whitening toothpastes can often have positive whitening and brightening effect because they have abrasive agents that remove surface staining. However, these toothpastes don’t lighten the tooth from the inside. The jury is out on too much use of abrasive products. I think occasional use of these kinds of toothpastes is not harmful.
Another inexpensive option is of course the whitening strips, which some patients of mine have had good results with. They are peroxide based and seem to work best in young adults. The disadvantage to these is they can sometimes be tedious, as you need to use them twice daily and they slip and slide. Whitening rinses are also peroxide based like the strips, but they definitely are less effective than the strips and take up to 12 weeks to see results.
The fastest and most effective way if you’re willing to make the investment is in-office whitening. In our office, for example, a dental assistant will apply the whitening product directly to your teeth and you will have results in about 60 minutes. My daughter had this done after she got her braces off and the results were dramatic! You can also have trays made custom to your teeth and then take the product home and do it yourself. These trays will fit your teeth perfectly, and thus, work better than the over-the-counter trays. In addition, they won’t irritate your gum tissue. Now is a great time to whiten your teeth professionally. The Smiles for Life program is open from now until the end of June. 100% goes to children’s charities and it’s tax deductible for you. Contact us for more details!
Overall, there really is no wrong way to go. It’s all in your preference, your budget, and your time frame. For example, if you want to get your teeth whitened for your wedding, the in-office treatment is the way to go for sure. ☺ But remember, your oral health is most important before you consider any bleaching option. Always check with your dental professional first!
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