There are several different ways to have your teeth whitened. With all types of bleaching procedures, the degree of whiteness will vary from individual to individual depending on the condition of the teeth, nature of the stain, the concentration of the bleach and the duration of time and bleaching system used.
* Over-the-counter Whitening Strips and Whitening Strips from your dentist- These are thin plastic strips that are coated with a peroxide-based (hydrogen-peroxide in general) whitening gel and are placed on the teeth twice a day for 30 minutes.
* Over-the-counter Whitening Gels- These are also peroxide-based (generally hydrogen-peroxide) and are applied on to your teeth with a brush twice a day.
* Over-the-counter and dentist prescribed whitening with trays- You fill the tray with the whitening gel and wear the tray over you teeth anywhere from 30 minutes to overnight (depending on the material) for usually about 10-14 days and sometimes up to 21 days. The difference between over the counter and dentist prescribed is that at the dentist, the trays are custom made to your mouth and teeth. Be careful with over the counter trays, since they are not custom fitted (they are one size fits all), the whitening gel can sit on your gums and irritate the gum and soft tissues. The 2nd difference is the whitening gels at the dental office are higher strength so you will get a much faster result. The strength of the over- the -counter bleaching products contain usually between 3% to 10% hydrogen peroxide, compare to the dentist prescribed bleaching products which are anywhere between 10% to 22% hydrogen peroxide.
In-Office Teeth Whitening: The main benefit of in-office teeth whitening is that within approximately 1 hour you get your teeth whitened several shades. The dentist places a protective shield over your gums and oral tissues and places the whitening gel (which is at a higher strength than all other type of gels-usually 38% peroxide) over your teeth and a special light or laser light is applied directly on to your teeth which will enhance the whitening process.
Cost: Over-the-counter products are the least expensive ranging from $20-$100. The home whitening system from your dentist ranges from $150-$350. The in-office teeth whitening ranges between $500-$600.
Benefits of over-the -counter products: 1- Cost- Less expensive than professional teeth whitening
Benefits of Bleaching done through your dental office: 1- Time 2- Safety- Your dentist can perform an oral examination including checking the health of your gums. If you have gum disease, you may not be a good candidate for this procedure. Your dentist will also determine if the type of stains your teeth have will respond to teeth whitening. For more information on safety, click here. 3- Faster results- These are the reasons why a lot of people prefer this method of teeth whitening.
Side Effects of Teeth Whitening: The only side effect is usually teeth sensitivity. With all the home whitening systems, once you stop the bleaching, the sensitivity will go away within 1-3 days. With in-office whitening, it will usually last 2 days.
In Summary: What ever method of teeth whitening you decide to do, whether it’s home bleaching or in-office, you will love the results. They all work. It all depends on what you are exactly looking for and what is more important to you. Whether you the type of person who wants your teeth whitened in one visit and you don’t have the patience for wearing trays or strips for couple of weeks or you may just want your teeth a little brighter and you don’t care about the home routine, there is an option for you. Teeth whitening is one of the most common procedure done, with quickest results in cosmetic dentistry.
By Ladan Zinati