There are many products and techniques available for patients who want to achieve a whiter smile, and with so many options available, it can be difficult 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 to your doctor about the options available.
In our office we recommend a type of professional whitening that uses custom-made trays and whitening gel only available through your dentist. The whitening gel is placed in custom-fitted trays that fit perfectly over your teeth. As the peroxide in the gel breaks down, hydroxyradicals 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 generally takes 10-14 days, although you may notice results in as little as three to five days. Studies have shown that the results are as effective as the "laser" in office whitening and last longer. You also have more control of the exact level of whitening you want.
Teeth whitening strips are thin, flexible plastic (polyethylene) strips with a thin film of hydrogen peroxide bleaching on one side. Whitening strip kits come with two types of strips: strips for the upper teeth and strips for the lower teeth. The bleaching agent is applied by placing the strips across your teeth and gently pressing the strips into place 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. They are generally less comfortable to wear than the custom trays and more likely to cause sensitivity.
The least expensive options are whitening toothpastes and mouthwashes. Designed to have “whitening” capabilities, toothpastes and mouthwashes work to remove surface stains using mild abrasives. However, because they do not stay on the teeth long enough, these products do not lighten the actual color shade of the tooth. Whitening toothpastes affect surface stains and will mildly lighten your teeth. Using abrasive toothpastes can cause tooth erosion, especially where gum recession and exposed root surface are involved.
If you would like to learn more about teeth whitening, please contact our practice to schedule an appointment, or visit www.teethwhitening.com for additional information about teeth whitening.
711 East Capitol St. SE Washington, DC 20003