Your goal: a whiter, brighter smile. But what is the best teeth whitening option for you? Our St. Thomas dentists explain teeth whitening options and the effects they can have.
What is teeth whitening?
Teeth whitening is a cosmetic dental procedure designed to lighten the colour of your teeth using peroxide-based bleaching agents. As the active ingredient breaks down, oxygen acts on the tooth enamel, creating the whitening effect.
What are my options for teeth whitening?
Today, you have a number of options for whitening your teeth. It can be difficult to choose the right one, and each has its advantages and can offer positive results. There are also some disadvantages to each procedure.
In-Office Teeth Whitening
The most effective teeth whitening procedures are performed by your dentist in a dental office. This is because the whitening agents in your dentist’s gel are much stronger and produce much more effective results than properly vetted over-the-counter products.
The procedure usually takes about an hour. Your dentist will use a concentrated whitening solution to remove surface stains from your teeth and lighten their natural colour. This yields somewhat more efficient results than at-home whitening solutions, which take days or weeks to work.
At-Home Professional Teeth Whitening Trays
This take-home option would be supervised by your dentist. During an initial visit to your dentist, a dental impression will be created to make your whitening trays.
You’ll take the whitening trays home and manage the teeth whitening application yourself. You’ll wear the whitening gel for between 30 minutes to a few hours a day, for 1 to 3 weeks depending on what your dentist prescribes. Do not exceed the amount of time your dentist prescribes for your treatment.
The whitening solution will gradually remove surface stains from your teeth and lighten their natural colour.
Whitening toothpastes work to remove surface stains and slightly whiten your teeth. However, keep in mind that whitening toothpastes will not affect the natural colour of your teeth, and they will be unable to lighten stains that have penetrated below the tooth’s surface.
Enamel strengthening toothpastes can help to defend your teeth from cavities and protect your enamel from further damage, which can prevent stains from developing in the first place.
These small plastic strips are coated with peroxide-based gel. When you apply the strip to your teeth, the peroxide coating removes surface stains, lightening the colour of your teeth.
You would typically apply whitening strips daily for a 2- to 3-week period, and keep them on for no more than 30 minutes at a time. Because these products contain only a small amount of peroxide, you will usually see only subtle results.
Porcelain veneers are razor-thin strips of porcelain that are affixed to the fronts of your teeth to alter their colour, shape and symmetry.
If only one or a few of your teeth are discoloured, porcelain veneers may be a practical solution to even out the colour of your teeth.
How do I know which are the best teeth whitening products?
The best teeth whitening products for you will depend on a number of factors, from personal preference to the time you have available in your schedule, and your budget. You may want to consider looking up teeth whitening reviews online for tips and ideas from other people who have opted to take the professional and/or at-home route.