Teeth Whitening

There are many ways to whiten your teeth, including toothpastes, over-the-counter gels, rinses, strips, and trays. However, to get the best and fastest results, make an appointment to see your dentist.  The whitening products used by dentists and other dental professionals are the safest and most sure way to see immediate results.  Some procedures are done in office and some are at home; make an appointment today to see which type of teeth whitening is best for you! 

Tray-Based Tooth Whiteners

Tray-based tooth whiteners are custom made trays, similar to a mouth-guard, that are made at your dentist’s office. The trays are filled with a whitening solution, which generally contains a peroxide-bleaching agent.  The trays are usually worn for a couple of hours a day to every night for up to four weeks.  Treatment length depends on the degree of discoloration of the teeth and the desired level of whitening. The whitening procedure can be done at home and requires no additional appointments or procedures.

In-Office Whitening

In-office whitening offers the fastest way to whiten teeth.  In-office whitening requires at least one visit to the dentists’ office to have the procedure performed; multiple visits may be required to reach the desired results.  Each visit usually lasts 30-60 minutes.  During the procedure, the whitening agent is applied directly to the teeth. Usually, the whitening agent is used in combination with a special light or laser which speeds up the whitening process. Dramatic results are often seen right away!  

At Home Whitening vs. Dentist-Supervised Teeth Whitening

While the many teeth whitening products available at your local pharmacy offer a certain degree of convenience, they are not likely to offer you to the results you are hoping to achieve.  In order to see whiter teeth quickly, it may be necessary to see your dentist and discuss your options.  There are big differences in the products you can buy at the store and those procedures done at the dentists’ office, including:

1. Strength of bleaching agent.  Over the counter and dentist-supervised at-home products usually contain a lower strength bleaching agent.  Usually, these products will have only 10% to 22% carbamide peroxide (whitening agent) compared to 15% to %43% carbamide peroxide in whitening products professionally applied at the dentists’ office.

2. Ill-fitting mouthpiece trays.  Dentist-supervised at-home whitening trays are made using an impression of your mouth.  Each tray is custom made to fit your mouth exactly.  This customization allows the whitening gel maximum contact with your teeth.  However, over-the-counter tray whiteners use a “one-size-fits-all” approach.  The trays are not designed to fit your mouth exactly.  Too large or too small of a tray can cause gum and soft tissue irritation and the whitening gels won’t whiten teeth evenly. 

3. Additional Protective Measures.  Some whitening products can be irritating to the gums and soft tissues.  At home whitening treatments do not take measures to protect these tissues from irritation.  In a dental office, your dentist will apply protective gels to the gums and soft tissues or use a rubber shield to protect your mouth from the effects of bleaching.

4. Best Treatment Plan.  Over-the-counter whitening treatments are not designed to work for your specific needs.  In a dentists office, your dentist will perform a complete oral exam to determine if whitening is the best course of action for your case and what type of whitening treatment will best fix the discoloration of your teeth. 

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