Teeth whitening is the most commonly requested cosmetic procedure. Whitening your teeth is a fast and affordable way to brighten your smile and boost self confidence, so it’s not a surprise that many people seek out whitening options, both at home and through their dentist. With the rise in effectiveness and safe options, there are plenty of great ways to whiten your teeth, though they are not all created equal.

There are many teeth whitening systems and products including whitening toothpastes, over-the-counter gels, rinses, strips, trays, and whitening products obtained from a dentist. Teeth whitening is ideal for people who have healthy teeth and gums, with no fillings or restorations. Individuals with yellow tones to their teeth respond best to whitening treatments.

With so many options on the market, with a wide range of effectiveness claims, costs and time to administer, it can be hard to tell which is the best way to whiten your teeth. Let’s examine a few of the most common options.

  1. Whitening Toothpastes – Toothpastes remove stains because they contain mild abrasives, but whitening toothpastes also contain polishing and chemical agents to increase stain removal, Whitening toothpastes do not contain bleach though and most whitening toothpastes are highly abrasive which can damage tooth enamel
  2. Over-the-Counter Whitening Strips and Gels – Whitening gels are typically clear, peroxide based and applied with a brush. Whitening strips are similar, but the solution is on thin, transparent strips that are wrapped over your teeth. With both options, results are typically seen within a few days
  3. Whitening Rinses – Used similarly as mouthwash, whitening rinses also contain peroxide. Dental professionals question the effectiveness since the whitening agent is only in contact with your teeth for a minimal amount of time. Many mouth rinses are highly acidic which may also damage the outer layer of your tooth enamel 
  4. Tray Based Teeth Whiteners – Tray-based tooth whitening systems, purchased either over-the-counter or from a dentist, involve filling a mouth guard-like tray with a gel whitening solution that also contains a peroxide bleaching agent. The tray is worn for a period of time, generally from a couple of hours a day to every night for up to four weeks. Whitening results can be achieved within about 2 weeks and are very effective as they contain medical grade products that are very effective 
  5. In-Office Whitening – Bleaching completed in your dentist’s office provides the quickest way to whiten teeth. With in-office bleaching, the whitening product is applied directly to the teeth using a system like the Zoom Teeth Whitening System. These products can be used in combination with heat, a special light or a laser. Results are seen in only one short treatment with multiple applications applied. Zoom Teeth Whitening is the most effective approach, though also the most expensive. 

The results from teeth whitening treatments can vary significantly based on the state of your teeth, the level of staining and the treatment you choose. The strength of the bleaching agent and the form of the trays used can make a big difference in the results of over the counter treatments. 

Though over the counter options are less expensive, the results are less predictable and any treatment done without the supervision of a dental professional can pose a risk of irritating your teeth, gums and any other underlying conditions. It is always best to seek advice from your dentist before proceeding with any of these options. Pregnant women and those with dental issues such as gum disease, exposed roots and cavities, as well as patients with restorations, fillings and crowns should not use whitening solutions without consulting a dentist.

If you would like to have a whiter, more dazzling smile, teeth whitening might be a great fit for you. Book a consultation with one of our Ambiance dentists today to discuss which teeth whitening option is best for your unique situation.

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