During the last decade, the teeth whitening field has changed considerably, both at home and within the dental office. There are basically two approaches to get your teeth looking whiter: in-office dental whitening and at-home treatment. Find out some secrets that your dentists will never let you know about teeth whitening.
Method #1: Dental (in-office) teeth whitening
Dentists are always thrilled to have a patient request an in-office teeth whitening procedure. There was only a single option that was available in the ’90s.
Your dentist would create a mold of the teeth, which would be sent off to a lab for 5-10 days before you would receive your teeth whitening mouthpiece. Then you would spend 1-2 hours in the dental chair as the teeth whitening molds were filled with low concentration peroxide and pressed against your teeth.
After three or four visits, you would be told your teeth were whiter and would be let go with a $500-$1000 bill. And obviously brighter teeth.
Over the past 10 years, dental office teeth whitening has improved dramatically. The current most-popular teeth whitening procedure is known as Laser Bleaching (aka Power Bleaching, Argon Bleaching, etc.), and is a shorter process. During this procedure, a concentrated peroxide gel is applied to your teeth, and then you sit in the chair with your mouth open so that a light may be shined into your mouth to complete the process.
This procedure for teeth whitening is effective. Many dentists say that you can have a whiter smile by doing multiple applications, since the teeth whitening solution will have more contact with your teeth. The downside is the expense of the procedure, and the fact that you’ll need to either come back or take home some home whitening items. Why did you just spend all that money in office teeth whitening?
Luckily, thanks to modern technology, teeth whitening is cost effective and simpler!
Method #2: Home teeth whitening
In most cases, it is now possible to get the same teeth whitening effects at home as it is at a dental office. Office whitenings have been reduced by the advent of at-home procedures, although millions of advertising dollars still compete with the home procedures.
Teeth whitening was a complicated process, until a few years ago. For many people home teeth whitening was not a viable option, as it was too hard getting the fitted mouthpieces made for each person.
Essentially, there are 3 different home teeth whitening options available
Teeth whitening option #1 - brush-on whitening
This is a good concept, where you brush on the formula, allow it to dry, then leave it your teeth overnight. Does not sound complicated, right?
The truth is that this method is meant for people that want an easy shortcut without spending the time to do it right.
There are two main problems with brush on teeth whitening:
1. When you apply the teeth whitening formula, it should be allowed to dry on the teeth. This is okay in theory, however, if the teeth whitening formula gets wet, it’s easy to accidentally remove parts of the formula. And what do you think happens when only part of your teeth is rubbed with teeth whitening formula? That’s right - the whitening result is not there! You wind up with patches.
2. As far as I can see, the second disadvantage of brush-on teeth whitening is the ingredients. The leading ingredient of any leading brush-on whitener is alcohol. Your breath smells foul with alcohol! Most of these brush-on teeth whitening formulas also contain glycerin, which will dry the enamel of your teeth and cause increased tooth sensitivity.
Teeth whitening option #2 - strips you stick on your teeth
In second place within home whitening options comes whitening strips. The main draw of this teeth whitening option is ease of use, as they’re easy to use and there is no preparation. Again, shortcuts are preferred by everyone, correct? However, with teeth whitening you once again get what you put into it. Let us elaborate…
Whitening strips tend to be designed as two strips pressed against the outside of your teeth. Consider this for a moment … Are your teeth completely flat? No! There are recesses and grooves, especially between your teeth. Picture a freshly painted fence, only you didn’t paint the grooves between any of the boards. The fence would not look very pretty, would it? Even with nice paint on the outside, the grooves between the boards would still have the old, unwanted look.
Teeth whitening strips can cause this same effect to happen to your teeth. The dingy cracks become more obvious when your teeth become whiter. After awhile it appears that you have small holes between each tooth. This is definitely not the result you had been hoping for.
Teeth whitening option #3 - trays with bleaching gels
This option remains the best choice as far as being efficient and affordable. Now, let’s give you a few tips and secrets about teeth whitening.
Firstly, there is not much difference between the teeth whitening gels that are available with your dentist. There is not much difference between dentists, as there are very few manufacturers who produce the gels.
Secondly, the quality of the teeth whitening gels at retail stores is not great. Not only have they been sitting around for a potentially long time, but they are also at a low concentration due to their low cost. Many of these older teeth whitening gels use only a 16% concentration of carbamide peroxide.
What should be your next move after gaining this new teeth whitening knowledge?
There are four basic steps to ensuring you whiten your teeth to their full potential.
1. Brush your teeth with oxygenating toothpaste before whitening, as it will strengthen your gums and help with sensitivity. You can be positive, this way, that the whitening gel applies to the enamel of your tooth, instead of the plaque on it.
2. It’s best to use the strongest teeth whitening gel to make sure that your time whitening your teeth isn’t wasted. Using a 21% carbamide peroxide concentrated teeth whitening gel will reduce the sensitivity of your gums and teeth. This concentration percentage means that in a short period of time, the teeth will become whiter.
3. By using an oxygenating oral rinse, you can enhance the effect of the teeth whitening after treatment. Keep in mind that you should not use a mouthwash with alcohol in it because this can interfere with the bleaching process — plus, it dries out your mouth!
Lastly, this teeth whitening system should be followed for 5 continuous days. If you wish, you can even do the top and bottom arch separately, for comfort. It is GUARANTEED that your smile will be noticeably whiter after that.