Many products and techniques are available for patients who want to achieve a brighter smile. With so many options available, it can be challenging to choose the method that is right for you.
The best way to begin any teeth-whitening regimen is to schedule an appointment and talk with your doctor about the differences between in-office professional whitening and at-home whitening.
Tray bleaching is a type of professional whitening that uses custom-made trays and whitening gel available only through a dentist. The whitening gel is placed in custom-fitted trays that fit perfectly over your teeth. As the peroxide in the gel breaks down, hydroxy radicals help whiten stained teeth.
Unlike strips, this process whitens all your natural teeth and may contain ingredients intended to provide maximum comfort. At-home professional tray whitening takes ten to 14 days, although you may notice results in as little as three to five days.
Paint-On Teeth Whiteners
There are many over-the-counter teeth whitening options. One type of readily accessible whitening products is commonly referred to as a “paint-on” teeth whitener. Paint-on whiteners can be purchased over the counter and are less expensive and less effective than whitening strips or professional options.
They consist of a gel applied to the tooth using a small brush. Paint-on whitening gel hardens into a film that coats the teeth and dissolves in the mouth. As with any teeth-whitening regimen, it is wise to consult with a dental professional before use.
Teeth-whitening strips are thin, flexible plastic (polyethylene) strips with a film of hydrogen peroxide on one side. Whitening strip kits come with two types of strips: strips for the upper teeth and strips for the lower teeth.
The whitening agent is applied by placing the strips across your teeth and gently pressing them to ensure contact with all your teeth. Teeth-whitening strips are typically worn for 30 minutes a day, twice a day. The duration of treatment will vary.
Whitening Toothpaste and Mouthwash
The least expensive options are whitening toothpaste and mouthwashes. Designed to have “whitening” capabilities, toothpaste and mouthwashes work to remove surface stains using mild abrasives.
However, unlike the materials used in professional whitening procedures, these products do not lighten the actual color or shade of the tooth. Whitening toothpaste affects surface stains and will mildly lighten your teeth.