Teeth Whitening at Home or in Dental Office?

Having a naturally white smile is aesthetically pleasing and improves appearance. It makes you more confident and builds self-esteem. Teeth whitening is one of the most popular cosmetic procedures around the world today because today’s treatments are safer and produce far better results with a minimum amount of side effects than ever before.

Millions of People Whiten their Teeth

Teeth become dull and yellow over time even with regular daily brushing. They may become stained with the use of cigarette and other tobacco products, coffee, tea, sports drinks, dark and light-colored carbonated beverages, wine, berries and other foods with deep color, and tomato and soy-based sauces. There are certain medications that can discolor your teeth with their use. Along with these staining agents, genetics can also play a part and influence whether you have discolored teeth as a result of your dentin.

How is Whitening Performed on Teeth?

There are basically two different ways to improve the color of your teeth.

  • Stain removal – This uses abrasives and cleansers that rub the surface of the teeth, making them appear whiter. These include toothpastes, wands, rinses, and brush-ons. These work on the surface of the teeth and help to prevent build-up when used several times a day.
  • Interior bleaching – This produces a more dramatic change in color. A peroxide formula travels through the dentin and whitens the enamel underneath. Carbamide peroxide is used in over-the-counter products like strips and mouth tray kits. Hydrogen peroxide is used for more intense whitening done by dentists or in kits purchased from dental offices.

The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends professional teeth whitening as it is supervised by a dentist, and he/she can help you find a method that is right for you as there are several different options involving powerful bleaching gels and a specialized light or laser that activates the gel for more effective whitening.

There May Be Some Side Effects

Before whitening teeth, make sure that your gums and teeth are in good repair, as it may be uncomfortable if they are not. The bleaching chemicals used in teeth whitening can cause irritation and tooth sensitivity in some individuals. It is best to get recommendations from your dentist before beginning any whitening procedures. He/she will be able to examine your mouth and teeth and ask questions that will help determine if you are a good candidate for whitening. Factors that help you judge whether professional or home whitening is a good option for your teeth would be affordability, effectiveness, and how agreeable the products would be for you.  Also, keep in mind that bleaching will not whiten porcelain crowns or composite tooth-colored bondings.

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