Whitening trends making their way in and out of social media and commercials show us just how easy a variety of over-the-counter products can be. But there are many other options as well. We will briefly outline several options here to help you know what to discuss with your dentist at your next visit. (Please note that overuse of any of these products can result in tooth sensitivity, pain, and/or discoloration.)
Whitening toothpaste use a variety of techniques to lighten your teeth. Baking soda, abrasives or chemicals are used to polish the teeth and/or give a reflective appearance that removes surface stains from teeth. Look for the ADA Seal of Acceptance when considering teeth whitening toothpaste.
Teeth whitening kits can include strips, trays, and/or brushes that allow you to put a substance on your teeth for a more extended period of time than toothpaste. These kits usually contain peroxide which bleaches your teeth to reach stains deeper than surface stains. Again, look for the ADA Seal of Acceptance when considering over-the-counter teeth whitening solutions.
Natural remedies for teeth whitening include everything from eating healthier, jumping on board a current trend, and avoiding teeth-staining foods and/or sugary and acidic drinks. If you smoke or use tobacco, those are your biggest culprits, so give those up for brighter teeth.
Abrasives such as baking soda or charcoal, or rinsing agents like coconut oil can have benefits, but they are really simply creating a habit of brushing and rinsing your mouth on a daily basis. The important habits of brushing twice a day, flossing and rinsing with mouthwash daily, chewing sugar-free gum, and seeing your dentist twice a year result in overall good oral care.
There are lots of teeth whitening options available only at a dentist’s office. Depending on your specific goals and needs, your dentist can recommend the options best for you. Options can include take-home kits as well as in-office professional teeth whitening treatments, which can be done over a series of visits, or in one.
Having teeth whitening done professionally means there won’t be gaps in the coverage area (typical of whitening strips), nor will they be over-bleached or cause damage to your gums (which can happen with in-home self-treatments).
Many dentists provide take-home teeth whitening options. Options may include a ready-made kit or custom-made trays with bleach. While some of these resemble over-the-counter whitening kits, they typically contain a more concentrated level of bleach.
This procedure is only available at dental offices and uses a 25% hydrogen peroxide gel in conjunction with a special lamp to whiten your teeth.
Another option only available at dental offices, Boost uses a hydrogen peroxide-based power bleaching gel for removing stains with no special light required.
Some stains will not respond to the traditional bleaching methods; in these cases, veneers could be an option to beautify your smile.