Oh white teeth…how do I get thee?
Let me count the ways…
There are so many ways to make your teeth whiter nowadays, that between the dentist’s office, your pharmacy and the home remedies you see on youtube, its no wonder there is so much confusion as to which is the best method.
But like everything in dentistry, it depends on what’s right FOR YOU!
Ask your dentist
Ask your own dentist which method is best for YOUR teeth. Let’s go over the main ways of whitening your teeth and their main advantages and disadvantages:
1- In office bleaching- professional whitening
This is the typical 1-2 hours application of a high concentration carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide product.
Professional whitening quickly generates a high level of brightness but has been linked to a dental sensitivity that may linger for a few days.
Teeth are also very susceptible to stain in the first 48 hours after in-office bleaching, making it necessary to stay to avoid certain foods and beverages in the short term.
There is also a rebound affect for the discolouring to return. The long term predictability is variable.
2- At home bleaching products
The next most concentrated level of bleaching products are take home bleaching trays and syringes. The dentist will take a mold of your teeth and make a custom tray for you to wear at home with the bleaching product inside.
Depending on the type of product, these trays are most commonly indicated for about a week of evening use. At home bleaching product are also associated with sensitivity.
However, because the patient is in control of how often and for how many days the treatment continues, the sensitivity is often less intense and more transient as compared to in office bleaching and there is less tendency for rebound effect
3- Over the counter bleaching
The big dental companies have really really good and effective products for sale at your local pharmacy.
The down side?
They are not customized for you and the concentration of bleach is lower than what your dentist can provide. The length of treatment time is also increased.
These products, when used properly, offer very good results at a fraction of the cost of professional whitening and less tendency for sensitivity since the products are less concentrated.
4- Toothpaste and mouthwashes
Due to popular demand, most brands of toothpaste come in a whitening option.
These toothpastes will either contain some low percentage of peroxide (the same ingredient found in bleaching gels) or abrasives. The abrasives in the toothpaste remove surface stain only…they do not change the natural colour of teeth or reverse discoloured restorations.
To take away stains, abrasives contained in the toothpaste gently polish teeth.
Used too often, these abrasives can slowly wear away the enamel of your teeth.
5- Home remedies
Caveat Emptor! Talk to your dentist about the safety of any youtube video you see that promises white teeth through the use of household products.
Whatever method you are considering, you must first ask yourself why you have stained teeth.
Do you smoke?
Do you drink coffee, tea or red wine often?
Do you have old fillings or crowns?
Were you born with teeth that have a yellow or greyish hue?
The answers to these questions can affect the effectiveness of conventional whitening methods.