Types of Teeth Whitening and How They Compare

Who doesn’t want teeth that are a healthy shade of white? There are a number of options for whitening teeth. Some of them are reserved for the dental office while others can be done at home. Here are some basics about current treatment options and how they compare.

Over the Counter Whitening Strips


It’s possible to purchase whitening strips in just about any pharmacy or supermarket without a prescription. Most of the strips require that you place them on the teeth for a specified period of time. You will need to administer treatments daily. While this approach will take longer than others, there are whitening strips that really work and they are relatively inexpensive.

One potential drawback is that no one is monitoring your teeth to determine if the treatments are triggering any other dental issues. That’s one reason we recommend having treatments under our care.

Trays and Gels from the Pharmacy


You can also purchase whitening gels and trays from most pharmacies and use them at home. Like the strips, you are likely to see results eventually. Be patient and make sure you read the usage instructions carefully before starting the treatments.

The process usually calls for applying the gel, then fitting the tray over your teeth. Expect to wear the tray for at least a couple of hours. Some products require that you wear them for a longer time, such as overnight. Depending on the strength of the ingredients used in the gel, it could be a couple of weeks before you notice a difference.

Trays and Gels From the Dentist


If the idea of using a gel with trays sounds appealing but you want faster results, you can come in and allow us to supply you with the same setup. The primary difference is that the gel will be stronger than most over the counter products. That means you will need to keep the tray on for shorter periods of time and you could begin to see results within days. Seeing us also provides an opportunity to check the condition of your teeth before you begin the treatments.

Toothpaste and Mouthwash Products


There are plenty of whitening toothpaste products on the market today. You’ll also find some mouthwash products that claim to help whiten teeth. Like other over the counter approaches, these products do contain ingredients that help to whiten the teeth. The results will take time to appear, but in the interim, those same products will freshen your breath and help to remove bacteria from the mouth.

Professional Dental Bleaching


The most efficient approach to whitening teeth is found in the dental office. You can arrange for our team to provide dental bleaching. Most treatments will take an hour or slightly less to perform. They are also more expensive than any of the over the counter products. The upside is that the bleaching is done under our care, so we are monitoring your teeth the entire time. Some patients find that they notice a difference after a single treatment.

Laser Teeth Whitening


You may have heard of laser teeth whitening. What you may not know is that this strategy is most often used in conjunction with dental bleaching. We apply the bleach to your teeth and then use laser light to activate and enhance the results. Assuming you have basically healthy teeth, this is a good way to receive more benefits from each bleaching session and achieve the look you want in less time.

What approach to teeth whitening is best for you? Talk with us and we’ll go over the pros and cons associated with each one. After you understand what to expect and how long the process will take, it will be easier to settle on the process that’s best for you. 

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