Do you feel insecure about your smile? The color of your teeth can have a huge impact on how confident you feel about your overall appearance, and especially your smile. A gradual yellowing of teeth is not uncommon as we age, and it can be accelerated by habitual drinking of coffee, tea, wine, smoking, taking certain medications, and genetic factors. The search for a brighter smile can lead many people to consider teeth whitening.
If you’re interested in having your teeth whitened, you may be questioning whether you should use an at-home whitening kit or go to a dentist for a professional whitening treatment. The methods used to whiten teeth vary widely, as do their cost and effectiveness. To understand the best method for you, read on to discover the differences between at-home and professional treatments.
In-Office Whitening Procedures
In-office whitening procedures are the most effective option. An in-office whitening can take anywhere from 60-90 minutes to complete. Your dentist will first place protective shields over your gums to prevent irritation. Next, the dentist will apply a professional-grade bleaching agent directly to your teeth. This bleaching agent is typically hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide based and is much stronger than anything you could buy over the counter. As a result, the results from professional teeth whitening tend to be more dramatic and effective.
The last step often requires a curing light or laser to activate the peroxide. Once applied, the solution is left on the teeth for 30-60 minutes. After just one session, your teeth will be several shades whiter and brighter. Additional sessions may be scheduled if desired. In-office treatments offer long-lasting results and are very safe.
Professional At-Home Whitening Kits
As an alternative to in-office whitening, some people are turning to professional at-home whitening kits. These kits must be obtained from your dentist as they require custom-fitted trays that are contoured to your teeth. You wear the trays at home for an hour a day over a two-week period. Results from these professional at-home kits are far better than most over-the-counter drugstore whitening kits; however, they are not foolproof in-office professional whitening sessions.
Over-The-Counter Whitening Kits
The cheapest whitening option available is over-the-counter whitening strips and kits that you can purchase from your local drugstore. While some of these kits can be effective at removing stains, they are difficult to deal with. Also, many of them only target the front six teeth, leaving the sides and back teeth stained. There are a wide range of options on the market, so finding a solution that is both safe and effective can take some extra research on the part of the customer. Customers who use over-the-counter kits often experience mixed results. If you want to try teeth whitening without much of an investment and don’t mind a mess, over-the-counter whitening kits can be a good option.
Going to a trusted dentist for a treatment that is guaranteed to leave you with a whiter, brighter smile is often the wise choice. Professional teeth whitening procedures are a powerfully effective and safe process that can get you the long-lasting and dramatic results that you want.