Whitening your teeth is the fastest and most conservative way to improve your smile. Our social media feeds are full of advertisements for products guaranteed to give you a white smile. Many of those social media platforms have filters that actually whiten your smile (in a photo, at least) for you! It is pretty safe to say that everyone wants a bright, white smile.
So how do you go about getting one?
Whitening vs. Polishing
There is an important distinction between true teeth whitening and polishing. We bring this up to explain the function of whitening toothpastes and some DIY teeth whitening you may come across.
Actual teeth whitening only occurs through a chemical compound containing some form of hydrogen peroxide. Peroxides are able to penetrate the hard outer shell of enamel and chemically break down darkly colored pigments underneath the surface. So true teeth whitening with peroxide compounds actually changes the color of teeth.
Many “whitening” products are creating a whiter or brighter appearance by polishing the external surface of teeth with an abrasive substance. Whitening toothpastes and homemade whiteners from activated charcoal perform this polishing function. Their gritty texture acts like sandpaper, removing stains from the outermost layer of enamel. This is wonderful for maintaining a white smile, especially if you consistently drink coffee, tea, or red wine. The superficial stains easily polish away with a whitening toothpaste. Polishing will return your teeth to their natural color.
When you want to achieve whiter teeth than your natural color, you need to use a whitening product with a peroxide chemical as the active ingredient.
Professional vs. Over-the-Counter Products
With all of the whitening products available, it can be confusing to know which one is right for you. When comparing professional products to those available over-the-counter, there are a few similarities and a few important differences.
Most over-the-counter products do contain the appropriate active ingredient for actual teeth whitening. This means that you can expect visible whitening results when you use them according to the instructions.
Advantages to Professional Products
- Method of application – One major advantage of professional whitening products compared to over-the counter products is their method of application. When a dentist makes a custom-fitted whitening tray, it holds a thin film of whitening gel against your teeth, so you get quick results with a minimum amount of whitening gel. OTC products use a generic fit, which can allow pooling of the gel in the bottom of the tray. You can expect a much slower result because the gel is not touching the entire surface of each tooth.
- Highest concentration – Typically, professional whitening gel contains a higher concentration of the active ingredient, which leads to a faster result.
- Presence of desensitizer – Many people suffer from sensitive teeth after whitening their teeth. Our professional whitening gel contains an important ingredient to help de-sensitize the teeth while you whiten.
- Dentist supervision – Having your dentist involved in the whitening process, even if you perform the whitening process at home, helps prevent potential complications like burning or irritation of the gums and sensitive teeth.
Specific Types of Professional Teeth Whitening
Professional teeth whitening can take a few different forms. We are proud to offer both in-office whitening for those who need (or want) immediate results and take-home whitening for slower, but more predictable results.
In-Office Teeth Whitening
An in-office teeth whitening procedure takes about an hour and a half and gives you instant results. We are proud to offer BOOST! in-office whitening, which uses a high strength hydrogen peroxide gel on the teeth with a protective barrier for the gums to achieve a high-powered result in a short amount of time.
In-office whitening is the best option for someone who needs results as soon as possible or for one who just prefers to have the dentist do the work for him.
Take-Home Teeth Whitening
Take-home teeth whitening is the method of whitening where you perform the actual whitening process at home. The most important aspect of take-home teeth whitening is the custom-made application trays created from an exact replica of your teeth. This intimate fit between the tray and your teeth is what gives you the fastest and best whitening results.
Another benefit of take-home teeth whitening is the availability of different strengths of the actual whitening gel that you use in the trays. A lower concentration gel is great for someone who has sensitive teeth or prefers to wear the whitening trays overnight. A high strength gel is best for someone who wants to wear trays for just 20-30 minutes per day.
With custom whitening trays and professional strength gel, you control your whitening results. You can whiten as much as you like or simply use them every 6 months for maintenance. You can also use the trays to apply other products to your teeth, like anti-cavity treatments or remineralizing agents. Their versatility makes them the perfect choice for everyone.
More Questions about Professional Teeth Whitening?
Call today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Jill and Dr. Cara. They will discuss your options with you and help you choose which one will best meet your needs for the holiday season.