Your smile is more important than ever today, especially for interactions with others and as a quick way to boost your overall mood and self-confidence. Often, however, the food and beverages you consume, as well as other factors such as tobacco usage or certain medications, can lead to staining or discoloration of teeth, and these can negatively impact that smile.
When this happens, you may want to consider choosing a teeth whitening process that gets results. Maybe you have an upcoming event that you want to shine for, or you prefer to keep a whiter smile all year round. Whatever your particular reason, there are different types of teeth whitening methods, and one is sure to match with your needs and personal preferences.
The Different Types of Teeth Whitening and How Each One Works
Accomplishing a beautiful and confident smile today often means looking for a teeth whitening process that works best for you. The two different categories that currently exist include over-the-counter teeth whitening and professional teeth whitening. Both can provide results, but there are distinct differences to know that can help you choose the right solution for your needs.
Over-the-Counter Teeth Whitening
One of the advantages to the various over-the-counter (OTC) teeth whitening methods is that they are available and accessible to everyone at any time. This availability makes them a convenient option. Most of these OTC products strive to minimize staining on teeth with the use of hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide in low dosages and come in the form of toothpastes, mouthwashes, whitening strips, and kits.
Whitening Toothpastes and Mouthwashes
Over-the-counter toothpastes often contain baking soda or charcoal to serve as a mild abrasive to help scrub away surface stains. Another common ingredient, found in both whitening toothpastes and mouthwashes, is hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide and come in low concentrations for safety. Whichever one you choose, make sure that it comes with an American Dentistry Association (ADA) Seal of Acceptance on the packaging, and expect results to take several weeks to notice.
Teeth Whitening Strips
Teeth whitening strips have been available for a long time and can be found at various drug stores. They are relatively inexpensive, easy to use, and can provide satisfactory results. The strips themselves contain very low concentrations of a whitening agent (peroxide), meaning results will take longer to achieve.
Over-the-Counter Teeth Whitening Kit
Teeth whitening kits are another popular option found over the counter and usually contain one-size-fits-all mouth trays, whitening paste or gel, strips, and possibly even special brushes. Peroxide is often the main ingredient to remove tooth surface stains. The directions that come with the kit will direct you to use the items in a certain way daily for a week or two and maybe longer.
If you do choose to try one of these over-the-counter methods, be sure to follow all directions and avoid using them for long periods as they can eventually damage tooth enamel and irritate your gums.
Professional Teeth Whitening
The second category for achieving whiter teeth is to undergo professional teeth whitening with your dentist.
Distinct benefits for dentist-supervised professional teeth whitening include:
- Provides for individualized treatments
- Takes less time to receive the results you are seeking
- Provides higher safety for teeth and gums
- Uses professional strength whitening gels
- Creates more even results
- Achieves longer lasting results
If you have sensitive teeth, professional supervised whitening methods are best.
In-Office Whitening Sessions
For faster results, often in just one session, consider in-office whitening by your dentist. By doing so, you don’t have to remember when and how to use the over-the-counter aids and can receive a noticeable difference often in one day. This option can involve a series of appointments or just one.
Take-Home Professional Whitening
Your dentist can also provide you with a convenient take-home teeth whitening kit to complete on your own schedule. One example of this is the KoR® kit. With this kit, you receive a set of custom-fitted mouth trays and refrigerated gels, and you decide whether to wear them during the day or at night.
Combination of In-Office and Take-Home Professional Whitening
For patients with extensive staining or discoloration or for those seeking the fastest results, a combination of an in-office whitening session and a take-home kit may be the best option.
For example, the GLO™ whitening method can take your teeth up to five shades lighter in just five days. This method starts with a one-hour procedure by your dentist using heat and LED light to get the process started. Afterward, you will continue treatments conveniently at home as directed by your dental team.
Contact Bateson Dentistry for All Your Teeth Whitening Needs
At Bateson Dentistry, we understand that all patients are different, and while some may prefer the convenience of in-house professional whitening, others may prefer an at-home method. That is why we offer the most advanced options available, including GLO® and KoR™, for our patients. If you are ready to get started on a whiter smile or want to learn more about your options, contact our office today to schedule a consultation.