If you’re like most of us, your teeth aren’t perfectly white. In fact, years of ingesting coffee, sugar, tobacco, or any other teeth-staining substances may have yellowed or even browned your teeth. Thankfully, dentistry has evolved to a point where we no longer have to feel ashamed of our smile. Nowadays, one can whiten their teeth without even visiting the dentist. Teeth whitening has become so commonplace that you can begin the process with a quick trip to the grocery store. But should you?
Store-bought whitening options now come in everything from toothpaste to paint-on gels, though the two types of products currently approved by the ADA are toothpaste and whitening strips. Many varieties of whitening toothpaste contain abrasives, which eliminate surface stains, while the whitening strips contain peroxide, which bleaches teeth. In addition to abrasives, some brands of toothpaste also contain peroxide, but in much lower levels than the whitening strips. Due to the lower cost, these methods are a popular choice among those looking to save money. However, regardless of your budget, it would be wise to consider the pros and cons of all options before making a decision.
Dentist-supervised methods, or whitening methods prescribed by dentists for at-home or in-office use, may be a little more expensive than over-the-counter methods, but they are quicker and more effective.
For the at-home option, your dentist will prescribe a whitening gel which is placed in a specially-made tray in-office. The in-office option involves the application of a gel containing peroxide and is sometimes used with a special light which speeds up the bleaching process. Although these methods may be more expensive than store-bought methods, they are far more efficient. The whitening results achieved from sixteen days of over-the-counter treatment can be achieved in less than half the time using the at-home method, and the in-office method can achieve those same results in as little as one day.
The bottom line is that no one should feel afraid to smile. If you think your teeth could use some whitening, contact your dentist today. Both of the aforementioned options have been proven effective, but it’s important to remember that everyone reacts to them differently. So even if you’ve done your research, it’s a good idea to visit your dentist and discuss these options further. No one knows your teeth better than your dentist, and he or she can recommend the treatment option best-suited for your smile.