Over the years, our teeth accumulate a variety of stains. While teeth are naturally prone to show discoloration over time, other substances or habits may accelerate this effect drastically.
Luckily, a number of solutions have been developed that promise to whiten teeth on any budget and schedule. These solutions are generally divided into the “do it yourself” or at-home remedies, and those that must be conducted through your dentist’s office.
Not surprisingly, the in-home solutions are far milder and take significantly longer. While these options have the advantages of cost and convenience (and may be necessary for those with particularly sensitive teeth), sometimes we need a quick fix. If you have little patience, want to see noticeable results in a short amount of time, or have to appear on television tomorrow, then professional teeth whitening is the answer for you.
Teeth Whitening Available Options
Most professional teeth whitening options are done through a licensed dentist and may or may not be covered by your insurance.
The American Dental Association strongly recommends that you have your teeth inspected before opting for whitening treatment. This inspection should target both the hard and soft tissues, include a scan of your dental history, and possibly require an X-ray to determine the type and depth of any abnormalities.
The most cost-effective professional teeth whitening method involves having your dentist make a mold of your upper and lower teeth. They then create a custom whitening tray based on this mild, where Carbamide Peroxide or Hydrogen Peroxide gel is inserted.
The concentration of this gel can range from mild (approximately 10% Carbamide Peroxide or 3% Hydrogen Peroxide) to very strong (up to 44% Carbamide Peroxide/16% Hydrogen Peroxide), and should be adjusted based on the effect sought and tooth sensitivity.
Once this mold is made, you have it forever (unless your teeth re-align or change shape). Additional whitening gel can then be purchased online or through your dentist. The mold is a one-time fee, and additional whitening gel is relatively cheap.
A more aggressive option, if immediate or same-day results are desired, is light-accelerated bleaching (commonly and mistakenly referred to as “laser bleaching”). This method utilizes light energy such as halogen, plasma arc, or LED to accelerate the work of the whitening gel. The whole process only takes about thirty minutes and can produce drastic results in a short amount of time. This is not the best option, however, if you have sensitive teeth.
Teeth Whitening – Final Conclusion
While professional teeth whitening services can offer fantastic results with relatively minimal wait and trouble, they are not necessarily for everyone. Some stains, for example, will not respond to bleaching. While these resilient stains are comparatively rare, the type of discoloration should always be identified by a licensed dentist before you undergo expensive bleaching treatment.
Additionally, there is a variety of in-home solutions that can be purchased online or through a drugstore. While these solutions do not promise drastic results in a short period of time, they may be more convenient and cheaper than their professionally administered counterparts.