At-home vs professional teeth whitening
Today everyone is looking for ways to give a great first impression, and one of the fastest methods for putting a quick polish on your look is to get your teeth whitened. This is especially true if they are already in reasonably good shape.
The debate remains, however, whether it is better to buy a home whitening kit from the drugstore or dig deeper into your pockets to get it done professionally. Is there really any difference? Here is a closer look at your options:
Home whitening methods
There are several home-whitening choices, and they all promise to whiten your teeth, but what can you really expect?
- Whitening toothpastes contain gentle polishing agents that may help to ward off future stains, but they are too mild to produce noticeable results.
- Mouthwashes, which contain 2% peroxide, may remove more bacteria and freshen your breath, but little else.
- Paint-on gels are convenient because they do not require a tray, but much of the peroxide wears away during the treatment. As far as home options go, the paint-on method may be most useful for whitening a single tooth or a few spots on your teeth.
- Home tray kits use bleaching gel in a tray, but users generally complain about them causing gum irritation, tooth sensitivity, being messy and ill-fitting. Reasonable results of up to three shades lighter may be achieved after about 12 weeks of nightly use.
- Teeth whitening strips are the best home option by far, and today’s brands adhere significantly better than those used previously. Again, however, whitening results are only about 3 shades brighter.
Professional methods for brightening and whitening discolored teeth, yellow teeth or stained teeth still achieve the best teeth whitening today, especially if you want a dramatic result. Your dentist has access to ADA-approved whiteners with considerably stronger whitening agents in them, and they also carefully monitor the process to ensure your teeth, gums and enamel are protected against irritation and sensitivity.
Professional whitening begins with an in-office treatment to get a jump-start on whitening. Then you receive a professional kit with a custom-fitted mouth tray to continue your whitening at home. This method is more expensive, but produces incredible results of up to 10 shades whiter than your current shade.
Which method will work best for you? Before you embark upon a teeth whitening treatment, it’s always a good idea to consult with your dentist to: