Your smile is often the first thing that people notice about you. It’s also a deciding factor in your level of self-confidence and esteem. But a bright, confident, and whiter smile starts with you and professional teeth whitening treatments.
All tooth whitening products “work.” The amount of whitening is dependent only on the strength of the bleach and the length of time the bleach is against the teeth. For example, whitening toothpastes and mouthwashes have little to no effect because the bleaching agent is weak to protect the gums and the bleach is only in the mouth a minute or two. The strongest bleaches work the best, but they must not come into contact with the gums at all to prevent chemical burns of the tissue. Deciding how you bleach depends on Results Expected, Time, Convenience, and Cost.
1. Custom Tray Home Whitening
Results: Best – Time: Shorter- Convenience: Easier
This method is by far the most popular. Custom Tray Home Whitening can be done anywhere, not just at home, and requires custom-made (from impressions of your teeth) trays that resemble thin, transparent, flexible orthodontic retainers or night guards. Fill the trays with whitening solution and wear them for 20-30 minutes, one or two times per day, for at least 10 to 14 days. Darker teeth take longer. You can also put them in and go to sleep if that is more convenient. The trays keep the bleach against the teeth better and off of the gums, allowing the use of much stronger bleach than available over the counter. The advantages of Custom Tray Home Whitening include bleaching when it is convenient for you (even while sleeping), shorter treatment time, better results, dentist supervision and less sensitivity. The trays can also be used to deliver desensitizing products, if necessary. The disadvantage is you have to take an impression and the cost is more, but it may be worth it because of the results and the sensitivity control.
2. “Grocery Store” Whitening
Results: Okay-Good – Time: Longer- Convenience: Less
Grocery store or drug store whitening products are much weaker than those available in the dental office. These products are weaker because they cannot be kept off of the gums and they must be safe for people who have not necessarily had their dentist examine their teeth to make sure they are ready to bleach. The advantages include possibly less cost, no need for a dental exam, and no impressions to take. The disadvantages include increased bleaching time due to weaker bleach solution and less contact time of bleach to the teeth because there is no tray (some have a bulky, loose-fitting, uncomfortable tray), messier application procedure, ability to only bleach 6-8 front teeth, are more difficult to use and must be removed before sleeping. Crest Whitestrips products have worked well for our patients but we have had reports of sensitivity and placing the strip is difficult for some. We have also seen results from Crest 3D White Luxe Glamorous White toothpaste. Be wary of internet products as they often have short expiration dates and questionable ingredients.
We no longer recommend or offer in-office power whitening due to sensitivity, inconsistent results and excessive cost. If you are uncertain about bleaching it is less of an investment to try the Crest Whitestrips to see if you like bleaching, then if you need a better result or have sensitivity you can opt for the Custom Tray Home Whitening.
If you would like to discuss how professional teeth cleaning and whitening can give you that great smile, then please contact Dr. Roger Mathis at Coppell Dental Care and discuss what would work best for you.