The first impression you make as you go through your day is often lasting, so you want to present yourself in the best possible way. A huge factor in any first impression is your smile. If your teeth are stained and discolored, you have just made a statement that is probably misleading: You don’t take care of your teeth.
You can be proactive and never leave this unfortunate impression on others by keeping your teeth as white as they can be all the time. And there are a variety of different types of teeth whitening treatments available. So, which one is the best for you? Some methods can irritate the gums, damage the enamel, and leave your teeth sensitive.
To help you determine the best route to take for whiter teeth, we’ve broken down the pros and cons of teeth whitening treatments so you have the information you need to make the best choice for you.
What To Do Before You Begin a Whitening Treatment
Remember when you went to the gym on January 1st one year and jumped right back into a strenuous workout routine? You didn’t stretch first and you didn’t check with your doctor and you ended up in bed for the next two days!
Don’t make that type of mistake with a new whitening product. Discuss your plans with your dentist first and make sure to ask any questions you have. Your dentist will want to make sure the enamel on your teeth is strong enough to go through the whitening regimen. If the enamel is worn down, you won’t be happy with the whitening results.
Your dentist will also want to make sure that your gums are healthy and that you don’t have any cavities. The whitening peroxide will cause problems if it gets into cavity openings, so make arrangements to get those things fixed before you begin any whitening plan.
The Most Common Teeth Whitening Treatments: Which Is Best for You?
Now that your mouth and gums are healthy and cavity-free, let’s look at the two categories of tooth-whitening treatments (at-home and in-office) and learn about the pros and cons of both.
At-Home Whitening Treatments:
Over-The-Counter (OTC) Whitening Treatments
Pros: They are less expensive than those done in the dentist’s office; they are easy to apply.
Cons: The bleach concentration is lower.
Pros: Strips are inexpensive compared to most other methods.
Cons: The strips only reach the front six teeth; they can irritate the gums; some users complain of sensitivity.
Whitening Toothpaste and Mouthwash
Pros: This method is easy on the budget; toothpaste contains special abrasives that do eliminate surface stains; products brighten teeth due to hydrogen peroxide or other whitening chemicals.
Cons: These products take up to 12 weeks to show visible results since they aren’t in contact with your teeth for more than a few minutes each day.
One-Size-Fits-All Whitening Trays
Pros: This method works quickly.
Cons: Since they aren’t fitted to your mouth, your throat can be irritated by the gel that escapes.
Paint-On Whitening Gels
Pros: The gel is easy to paint on.
Cons: The gel doesn’t stay on when your lips close over your teeth.
Natural Whitening Remedies
Pros: The ingredients are in your pantry or refrigerator; your teeth may appear whiter only because some of the plaque has been removed.
Cons: The use of remedies made from foodstuffs such as baking soda, lemon juice, strawberries, or coconut oil sometimes causes unintended problems or simply doesn’t work; they can damage tooth enamel by up to a 10% reduction in surface hardness.
Important Tips Regarding At-Home Whitening Treatments
It is important to note that some people develop tooth sensitivity after using DIY whitening kits. During the first one to two weeks when you are using teeth whitening products, you should consider the following tips to prevent tooth sensitivity from becoming a problem for you:
- Follow instructions carefully.
- Don’t leave the product on for extended times.
- Use desensitizing gel and toothpaste.
- Rinse your mouth after using teeth-whitening products.
- Allow more time between whitening sessions.
- Choose products with low levels of peroxide. Currently, the percentages of peroxide in teeth whitening products are 10%, 16%, and 22%.
In-Office Whitening Treatments:
Pros: This cosmetic dental treatment is effective and fast. It consists of a gel with a high concentration of peroxide with a photocatalyst. The laser light activates the peroxide gel, breaking up stains with tiny oxygen molecules.
Cons: As with most treatments done in your dentist’s office, it is more expensive than those done at home.
Custom-Fitted Whitening Trays
Pros: The trays are made from a mold of your mouth, so they fit perfectly over your teeth; you only wear the trays for about 30 minutes each day; whitening occurs in one to two weeks.
Cons: This method is one of the most expensive to use; you will need gel refill syringes several times a year, adding more expense.
There is no doubt that the most effective and reliable teeth whitening treatment is professional in-office teeth whitening performed by a professional. The treatment takes about 90 minutes with visible results very quickly. Our dental team here at TLC Dental Center can answer any questions you have about professional whitening and get you on your way to a dazzling white smile!
The Success of Teeth Whitening is Up to You
The effects of whitening are not permanent, no matter what method you choose. Staining will still be an issue so it is important to stick to a regimen that reduces staining: Brushing twice a day (or more) and avoiding drinks and foods that stain more than others.
Here is a list of the foods and beverages that often stain teeth:
- Tea and coffee
- Red wine
- Fruit juices, especially cranberry, blueberry, and grape
- Tomato-based sauces
- Balsamic vinegar
- Soy sauce
- Hard candy
Some of these are also known for their health benefits, so don’t eliminate them completely. Simply cut back!
Dazzling White Teeth are Attainable and Affordable
Brilliant, white teeth are not only for celebrities! We can make your smile just as fabulous here at TLC Dental Center in Cherry Hill. We use a specialized whitening gel treatment that gives you significant results in just one visit (followed up with several at-home treatments to reach the desired level of whiteness.)
Maybe you are planning a special day and need your smile as bright as possible. Or you may simply have questions or need more information. We look forward to helping you, whatever your goals are. Contact TLC Dental Center for a consultation today!