Do you want whiter teeth? If so, there are three main options for whitening teeth:
- Professional teeth whitening at your dentist’s office
- Professional teeth whitening provided by your dentist for take-home treatment
- Over-the-counter teeth whitening tools
If you want your smile looking new and bright, or if your teeth are stained or yellow, effective teeth whitening is the solution!
Most people do experience stains and yellowing of teeth, and teeth whitening improves the way you teeth look, as well as providing a more youthful, brighter smile. How long teeth whitening lasts depends on the type of treatment you use and your own oral care.
Professional In-Office Teeth Whitening
With only one visit to your dentist’s office, your teeth can be as much as up to 8 shades whiter. In-office, your dental team uses a laser light to quickly activate bleaching agents that are applied directly to your teeth, so you’ll achieve fast, attractive results.
Professional At-Home Teeth Whitening
A professional take-home tooth whitening kit provided by your dental team is another great option, particularly if you have only minor discoloration or stains. Your dentist designs personalized whitening trays for you, providing a bleaching gel, and the instructions you need to follow on use.
You can also use these take-home whitening kits to maintain the fresh new look of dental in-office whitening treatment.
Over-the-Counter Teeth Whitening
You’ll find that most teeth whitening products are peroxide-based. The concentration of peroxide affects the strength of a whitening treatment. Commonly, the percentage of peroxide found in teeth whitening treatments are between 10% and 22%.
Over-the-counter teeth whitening products include:
- Tooth whitening toothpaste – removes surface stains, often contains abrasives, like regular toothpaste. It does not contain bleach, making teeth at most about a shade lighter.
- Strips and gels – these types of over-the-counter products create more noticeable results than toothpaste. Strips are usually coated with a peroxide-based gel, and are applied for around 30 minutes, twice a day for two weeks. Gels are applied to the tooth surface with a small brush, and are also applied twice a day for two weeks.
- Whitening rinses – mouthwashes that contain hydrogen peroxide whiten teeth after being swished throughout the mouth twice a day for 60 seconds. Less effective than other OTC products due in part to the limited time they are applied, results are slower to appear.
Does Teeth Whitening Last?
While not permanent, teeth whitening can last for years, with many in-office whitening treatments lasting up to 3 years; professional at-home treatment is less lasting, but also provides long-term results. Over-the-counter products usually last up to four months.
So, while no teeth whitening technique lasts forever, you can also extend that new bright look with good, routine dental hygiene, scheduled visits to your dentist for cleaning, and by staying away from food and beverages that can stain teeth, such as tea, red wine, and certain berries.