If you’re looking to improve your smile, teeth whitening is a safe, effective and reasonably priced option to consider! With whitening options ranging from in-office to in-home, and with various levels of whitening strengths and types of procedures, there are choices for everyone.¹
Learn more about how teeth whitening can help you achieve a whiter, brighter smile along with some of the more popular teeth whitening options available.
How Does Teeth Whitening Work?
Teeth whitening works by using either an abrasive substance or bleaching agent to remove stains.² The abrasive, or non-bleach, whitening products mainly help to remove surface stains, such as those caused by food, beverages or tobacco, by polishing the surface of each tooth. Bleaching agents, such as hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide, however, are capable of tackling both surface stains as well as staining deeper within teeth that tends to develop over time.
In-home whitening is typically accomplished using either store bought strips or custom whitening trays with hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide gel. While effective, in-home teeth whitening methods typically uses lower-strength bleaching agents which require repetitive bleaching to achieve desired results. In-office whitening, such as Zoom whitening, is conducted at your Dentist’s office using higher strength bleaching agents, often used in conjunction with laser or light-activation, to achieve quick, dramatic results, typically during a single visit to your Dentist’s office.
Which Teeth Whitening Option Should I Choose?
Your Dentist can help you select teeth whitening options that will achieve your desired results by considering the following information:
- Your current tooth shade and existing stains
- Your expectations and desired tooth shade
- Your budget
- Your history of teeth whitening practices
- Your level of sensitivity to different teeth whitening agents
- Your lifestyle, including habits such as drinking tea, coffee, wine, soda or use of tobacco
- Your timeline to achieve the desired tooth shade
- Your existing dental work, such as bonding, crowns or veneers
- Your age
- Your health history (certain stains caused by medications or excess fluoride may not react to whitening procedures)
In-Home Teeth Whitening: Whitening Strips & Custom Whitening Trays
Store bought teeth whitening strips are relatively low cost and easily accessible. But, this whitening option uses the lowest strength of bleaching agents, meaning that it is not particularly quick or effective at eliminating surface stains. This option is a great way to maintain whitening results following an in-office whitening procedure and manage stains on an ongoing basis.
Whitening trays, or bleach trays, are another in-home option for teeth whitening. Using custom whitening trays, you have the flexibility to bleach your teeth during the day or overnight while you sleep. In many cases, the bleach tray created by your dental professional is clear, making it nearly invisible, should you decide to bleach during the day. You can purchase various strengths of whitening gel directly from your Dentist based on your desired results and your dental professional’s recommendation.
In-Office Teeth Whitening: Laser Whitening & Zoom Whitening
Laser whitening involves the use of a bleaching agent along with a narrow beam of light or heat to increase the whitening results. As this method of whitening is conducted in your Dentist’s office, under direct supervision of dental professionals, it is considered a relatively safe procedure with immediate, effective results. When compared to in-home teeth whitening options, laser whitening may seem expensive, but the speed of the results cannot be ignored.
Zoom whitening is another in-office whitening option. Tooth whitening is achieved with use of ultraviolet rays to enhance the impact of the whitening product applied to the teeth as part of the treatment. Just like laser whitening, Zoom whitening may cost a little more than custom bleach trays, however, it provides an effective and safe whitening option for any patient looking for quick results.
Regardless of the teeth whitening method you select, it is important to remember that efforts to whiten your teeth will not last forever. Efforts to refrain from staining foods, beverages and tobacco must be maintained in order to keep teeth their whitest and brightest. In most instances, however, regular teeth whitening procedures or bleaching efforts are required to keep teeth their desired shade over time.
- ¹Haywood, DMD, Van B., (2003, April). Frequently Asked Questions About Bleaching. Retrieved from http://www.saudident.com/album/data/media/2/FAQ-Bleaching.pdf
- ²Sarrett DMD., M.S., David C., (2002, November). Tooth Whitening Today. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0002817714646183