After the years of coffee and wine stains, most of us wouldn’t mind shelling out a little extra for that million watt smile, right? There’s a lot of different whiteners out there, and it is important to get your facts straight before making an informed decision.
There are several different options available:
Bleaching Kits: A peroxide solution is applied to a tray and is then inserted into the mouth. After about an hour, the tray is removed. The peroxide works by bleaching the enamel, at less of a concentration than if you were to visit a dentist for treatment. However, this method changes the natural color of the teeth.
Whitening Toothpastes: These toothpastes contain special whitening chemicals that eliminate stains. They also do not change the normal color of the teeth.
Laser Teeth Whitening: A solution is applied to the teeth and then is sealed with a rubber encasement. The heat of the laser breaks down the stains and usually takes an hour.
Tooth Whitening Strips: These peroxide containing strips are placed on the teeth and removed after approximately 30 minutes. They are effective and several are recommended by dentists.
There are inherent risks in tooth whitening, and not every over-the-counter or presciption product is created equal. Before you purchase any product, it is important that it has the ADA Seal of Acceptance. The American Dental Association (ADA) has monitored the safety and effectiveness of the tooth-whitening products for the two decades, especially as they have grown in popularity.
“Whitening is very safe, but you should use it judiciously,” explains Dr. Tal Morr, DDS. “Overuse can damage the enamel of your teeth. Certain discolorations of teeth, such as tints of gray or brown, do not color as easily as yellow shades. So people have a tendency to go overboard when they think it’s not working they way they want it to.” He recommends consulting your dentist or specialist before using prescription dental whitening products.