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What Are My Options for Teeth Whitening?

Updated: May 16, 2023

Picture of smile before and after teeth whitening

A bright, white smile is something that many people desire. However, with age, certain foods, drinks, and lifestyle habits, teeth can become discolored or stained over time. This can lead to feelings of self-consciousness and a lack of confidence when smiling or speaking. Fortunately, there are several teeth whitening options available that can help restore the appearance of your teeth.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the different options for teeth whitening, including over-the-counter products, professional treatments, and natural remedies. We’ll discuss the pros and cons of each method and provide tips on how to maintain a healthy, white smile.

Over-the-counter Products

One of the most popular options for teeth whitening is over-the-counter (OTC) products. These products are widely available at drugstores, supermarkets, and online retailers. They are usually less expensive than professional treatments and can be used in the comfort of your own home.

1. Whitening Toothpaste

Whitening toothpaste is a popular OTC product that claims to whiten teeth over time. These toothpastes usually contain mild abrasives and chemicals that help remove surface stains. They are easy to use, and you can incorporate them into your daily brushing routine.

However, it’s important to note that while whitening toothpaste can help remove surface stains, they may not be effective for deep stains or discoloration. Additionally, some whitening toothpaste can be abrasive and may damage tooth enamel if used excessively.

2. Whitening Strips

Whitening strips are another popular OTC product that you can use at home. These thin, flexible strips are coated with a peroxide-based whitening gel and are applied directly to your teeth. They are usually worn for 30 minutes a day for two weeks, depending on the product.

Whitening strips can be an effective way to whiten teeth, but they may not work for everyone. They can also cause tooth sensitivity and gum irritation, especially if they are not used correctly. Additionally, some people may not like the taste of the gel, which can make it difficult to use the strips consistently.

3. Whitening Pens

Whitening pens are a newer addition to the OTC whitening product lineup. They are similar in design to a marker or pen and are used to apply a peroxide-based whitening gel directly to the teeth. They are portable, easy to use, and can be applied throughout the day.

However, like whitening toothpaste, whitening pens may not be effective for deep stains or discoloration. They can also be messy and may require multiple applications to see results.

Professional Treatments

If OTC products are not providing the results you desire, professional teeth whitening treatments may be a better option. These treatments are usually performed by a dentist or dental hygienist and can provide more dramatic results than OTC products.

1. In-Office Whitening

In-office whitening, also known as chairside whitening, is a professional treatment that is performed in a dental office. The procedure usually involves applying a strong bleaching agent to the teeth, which is then activated with a special light or laser.

In-office whitening can provide dramatic results in a short amount of time, usually in one or two sessions. However, it is the most expensive option for teeth whitening, and it may not be covered by dental insurance. Additionally, some people may experience tooth sensitivity or gum irritation after the procedure.

2. Take-Home Whitening Kits

Take-home whitening kits are a professional treatment that you can use at home. These kits usually include custom-fitted trays that are filled with a bleaching agent and worn for a specific amount of time each day. They are usually provided by a dentist or dental hygienist.

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