Does Home Tooth Whitening Work?

phoenix_cosmetic_dentistWhite, sparkling teeth are no longer just for the young and fortunate. With all the whitening aids on the market, almost anyone can have bright white teeth, and almost everyone can achieve brighter-looking teeth than they have now.

“Bright, sparkling teeth are not only a sign of youth, they are also a sign of someone who cares about their health,” says Dr. Ford from her Phoenix dental office. “And with the number of whitening methods available, more and more people are choosing to look their best,” she continues.

Can you whiten your teeth at home? Certainly, there are a wide variety of products you can use, depending on what causes your teeth to discolor. According to WebMD, the most common reasons for less-that-bright teeth are coffee, tea, colas and red wine. Teeth also darken with age, as the enamel becomes thinner and the dentin shows through.

At-home whitening can be done with toothpastes or gels. Toothpastes, reports WebMD, “can help remove surface stains only and do not contain bleach; over-the-counter and professional whitening products contain carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide that helps lighten the color deep in the tooth.” You can expect a toothpaste to whiten your teeth one shade. You will have to continue to use it to get consistent whitening.

Whitening strips are coated with peroxide-based gels. Application is done twice a day for about 14 days, whether you use the brush-on or the strips.

If you want a stronger, faster solution, your dentist will have a choice of two solutions. Both solutions involve trays—a mouth-guard-shaped tray that is filled with gel. Your dentist will work with you to create a schedule of wearing the tray. Your dentist will also decide how strong the whitening solution should be.

“You can expect to wear the trays for about an hour a day for at least four weeks,” says Dr. Ford. This will whiten your teeth about two to three shades.

The third solution is to have your teeth whitened in the dentist’s office. This method has several advantages—you get much whiter teeth (three to eight shades) in one or two dental visits—a few hours instead of a few weeks. After the in office procedure, a tray will also be fitted to your mouth.

“The best choice is the one that suits your time, the amount of whitening you need, and the cost, “ says Dr. Ford. It’s a discussion you should have with your dentist to explore your expectations,” she adds.

No matter which method you choose, white, sparkling teeth are an important part of grooming and well worth the time and effort you choose to spend on it.

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