Dental Product Series: Teeth Whitening

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A woman showing her bright smile after getting her teeth whitened by her San Diego, CA dentist.

We all have our vices. Things like a couple of glasses of red wine with dinner, that cup of joe (or three) to start your day, and smoking all take a toll on the color of your teeth. Whether you are getting ready for your wedding day, aren’t ready to give up on the things you enjoy partaking in, or would just like boost in your smile, there are many reasons to have your teeth whitened. With so many options available today, how do you know which is best for you? The types of product you need will depend on your budget and how much whitening you are looking to do. Read on to see how you can get your pearly whites back to being pearly… and white.

Basic Teeth Whitening Products

There are many dental products out there that claim to be able to whiten teeth. These include gum, toothpaste, and mouthwash. While these products promote themselves as whitening teeth, they’re typically not very effective.

The American Dental Association states that there two kinds of stains whitening products target. For surface, or extrinsic, stains, these products may be able to help. For deeper, or intrinsic, stains, these products don’t have enough whitening agent, and your teeth aren’t exposed to the agents long enough, to remove deeper stains. These products may not be able to whiten your teeth to where you want them, but they can be useful in maintaining a bright smile after using something a little stronger.

Whitening Strips
Whitening strips are an over-the-counter product that works better at whitening your teeth. They typically come with two strips in a container, one each for your top and bottom teeth. With these strips, you’ll normally leave them on for 20-30 minutes per session, allowing the whitening agent more time to do its work. Whitening strips can be used multiple days in a row, but also can cause tooth sensitivity. While this sensitivity isn’t a long-term problem, you should take a few days off of using the strips if your teeth become too sensitive.

Take Home Kits
Take-home whitening kits are a treatment you need to see your dentist for. Your dentist will make an impression of your teeth to create a tray to put the bleaching agent into. Once you have the trays (usually within one to two weeks of having impressions taken), your dentist will give you instructions on how to use your kit.

In-Office Treatment
This treatment is by far the most effective way to get your teeth whiter. Compared to the other teeth whitening products, chairside bleaching has the most potent bleaching agent, usually requiring a one-time dental visit for one to two hours. Your dentist will make sure you are a candidate for in-office bleaching and will take the proper precautions to ensure that the bleaching agent will avoid your gums, as it can irritate the tissue.

Typically, the more effective a whitening product is, the more expensive its price. Depending on your situation, one treatment may be ideal for you, even if it’s not ideal for another patient. Often, in-office whitening treatment may be initially expensive, but in the long run, you get the color you were aiming for, and potentially save money by not trying several cheaper products that don’t deliver results.

If you are unsure what option is best for you, give us a call at (619) 241-4439 for more insight.