03 Jun Professional Teeth Whitening vs. Whitening at Home
Research has shown that 47% Americans say a person’s smile is the first thing they notice when they meet someone. The accessibility of home whitening products and professional treatment have made a dazzling white smile a possibility for everyone.
First let’s talk about what causes teeth to turn yellow: smoking, coffee, tea, colas, and acidic foods erode the enamel of your teeth, making them more porous and susceptible to absorption of food and colors. Genetics, age and health also play a role. If the damage is already done, there are many over-the-counter ways to whiten your teeth at home and in-office options to consider as well.
Whitening At Home
Over-the-counter whitening options are readily available at any grocery or drug store at affordable prices. Whitening strips, toothpastes, rinses and pens provide affordable and effective ways to brighten your smile at home. Whitening toothpastes have the ability to clear surface stains, while pens allow for more precise touch-ups on stubborn stains, especially between teeth. For the most effective whitening, many consumers turn to white strips, which offer varying levels of whitening options that can go deeper than surface level. These treatments are cost-effective and work as well as many in-office procedures, as long as the instructions are followed. But keep in mind that most people are not totally compliant, since it’s not comfortable or convenient to keep a goopy tray or white strips in their mouths for 30 – 45 minutes per day while saliva starts overflowing!
Professional Teeth Whitening In-Office
In-office treatments usually begin with an ultraviolet light procedure. Within an hour, you will see an immediate difference in your smile. The process is safe and fast, but is obviously more expensive than over-the-counter products.
Most dentists will send you home with customized plastic trays and whitening gels to supplement the ultraviolet light treatment. Dentists will know when you have reached your whitening “end point” and will tell you to discontinue treatment. You can always use these trays for “touch ups” and use whitening toothpaste to brush away any surface stains for maintenance. If you prefer to skip the ultraviolet light treatment, many patients will opt for the customizable trays and gels to whiten at home.
Our patients have told us that white strips are very convenient and affordable for this type of maintenance and work just as well as the customizable trays. One drawback to white strips is that the strips are a specified length, and may not whiten all of your teeth, leaving the back teeth yellow. This is true also for stock whitening trays sold in the stores. Since they are not customized to your mouth, you may have issues with them fitting properly and may miss a tooth or apply too much on a tooth and have sensitivity issues.
Get your dentist involved.
If you are considering a whitening treatment, make sure you are up to date with all necessary dental work before you begin. Your dentist can determine the type of staining that you have and determine which treatment would be the most effective. You may be able to use your FSA money with in-office treatments. If you are hesitant, there is no harm in starting the process at home. Confused? Give us a call, and we can help you get started!