There are many products and techniques available for patients who want to achieve a whiter smile, and with so many options available, it can be difficult to choose the method that is right for you. The best way to begin any teeth whitening regimen is to schedule an appointment and talk to Dr. Cynthia Skiba about the differences between in-office professional whitening and at-home whitening.
In-office teeth whitening
The first professional option is commonly referred to as “in-office” whitening. This procedure is performed in a dental office. In-Office whitening treatments may introduce the use of a light or laser. The light or laser acts by accelerating the effects of the hydrogen peroxide present in the whitening solution.
During an office visit, one of our staff will apply the whitening gel directly to your teeth. The entire office visit generally takes about 90 minutes with immediate results.
At-home teeth whitening
Tray bleaching is a type of professional whitening that uses a custom set of trays fabricated by our office with the use of a series of impressions and stone models. Once a tray has been constructed the patient can use the whitening gel. The whitening gel is placed in custom-fitted trays that fit perfectly over your teeth. As the peroxide in the gel breaks down, hydroxyradicals help whiten stained teeth. Unlike strips, this process whitens all your natural teeth and may contain ingredients intended to provide comfort as well as bleaching. Although at-home professional tray whitening generally takes 10-14 days, you may notice results in as little as 3-5 days.
Teeth whitening strips
Teeth whitening strips are thin, flexible plastic (polyethylene) strips with a thin film of hydrogen peroxide bleaching on one side. Whitening strip kits come with two types of strips: strips for the upper teeth and strips for the lower teeth. The bleaching agent is applied by placing the strips across your teeth and gently pressing the strips into place to ensure contact with all your teeth. Teeth whitening strips are typically worn for 30 minutes a day, twice a day. The duration of treatment will vary.
Teeth whitening toothpaste and mouthwash
The least expensive options are whitening toothpastes and mouthwashes. Whitening toothpaste and mouthwashes are designed to have “whitening” capabilities, these products work to remove stains from the surface of your teeth using mild abrasives. However, unlike bleaching materials used in professional whitening procedures, these products do not lighten the actual color shade of the tooth. Whitening toothpastes affect surface stains and will mildly lighten your teeth.
If you would like to learn more about teeth whitening, please contact our practice to schedule an appointment.