Our patients often come in with the goal of a whiter, brighter smile. But what is the best teeth whitening option for you? Our North Sydney dentists explain teeth whitening options and the effects they can have.
What is teeth whitening?
Teeth whitening is a cosmetic dental procedure designed to lighten the colour of your teeth using peroxide-based bleaching agents. As the active ingredient breaks down, oxygen acts on the tooth enamel, creating the whitening effect.
What options are available for teeth whitening?
Today, you have several options for whitening your teeth. It can be difficult to choose the right one, and each has its advantages and can offer positive results. As with any other procedure, there are also some disadvantages to each.
In-Office Teeth Whitening
The most effective teeth whitening procedures are performed by your dentist in a dental office. This is because the whitening agents in your dentist’s gel are much stronger and produce much more effective results than those available in over-the-counter products.
The procedure usually takes about an hour. Your dentist will use a concentrated whitening solution to remove surface stains from your teeth and lighten their natural colour. This yields somewhat more efficient results than at-home whitening solutions, which take days or weeks to work.
At-Home Professional Teeth Whitening Trays
This take-home option should be supervised by your dentist. During an initial visit to your dentist, a dental impression will be created to make your whitening trays.
You’ll take the whitening trays home and manage the teeth whitening application yourself. You’ll wear the whitening gel for between 30 minutes to a few hours a day, for 1 to 3 weeks depending on what your dentist prescribes.
The whitening solution will gradually remove surface stains from your teeth and lighten their natural colour.
Whitening kinds of toothpaste work to remove surface stains and slightly whiten your teeth. However, keep in mind that whitening kinds of toothpaste will not affect the natural colour of your teeth, and they will be unable to lighten stains that have penetrated below the tooth’s surface.
Enamel strengthening kinds of toothpaste can help to defend your teeth from cavities and protect your enamel from further damage, which can prevent stains from developing in the first place.
These small plastic strips are coated with peroxide-based gel. When you apply the strip to your teeth, the peroxide coating removes surface stains, helping lighten the colour of your teeth.
You would typically apply whitening strips daily for a 2- to 3-week period, and keep them on for no more than 30 minutes at a time. Because these products contain only a small amount of peroxide, you will usually see only subtle results.
Porcelain veneers are razor-thin strips of porcelain that are affixed to the fronts of your teeth to improve their colour, shape and symmetry. These are a more invasive and permanent approach to teeth whitening.
If only one or a few of your teeth are discoloured, porcelain veneers may be a practical solution to even out the colour of your teeth.
How do I know which are the best teeth whitening products?
The best teeth whitening products for you will depend on several factors:
- Personal preference
- Time you have available in your schedule
- Your budget