Is Home Teeth Whitening the Best Bleaching Choice for You?

A positive first impression is important in life. A nice smile and white teeth make a first impression that can last a lifetime. It is no secret that teeth lose their whiteness as we age, and that can make for a bad impression. Hollywood celebrities know this and that's why... Read More

Your Options for At Home Teeth Whitening

To perform at home teeth whitening, there are several approaches that you can take.  You may want to start with the least expensive approach and then work your way up, if the results that you desire are not achieved with the first step.  The least expensive approach would be to buy whitening toothpaste.

Toothpastes contain a variety of ingredients, ranging from gentle herbal cleansers to carbamide peroxide, a bleaching agent.  In general, toothpastes do not contain a high enough concentration of any bleaching agent to really whiten.  But, if you have not been brushing after every meal and after drinking dark beverages, then you could see a slight change over the course of a few weeks.

Approaches that cost more, but have a greater effect include paint-on bleach, teeth whitening trays with bleaching gels and adhesive strips.  The paint-on products are the least effective and can vary in price from $10-$90.  If you want to try this approach, choose the least expensive product.  The more expensive brands are not any more effective.

Hot Teeth Whitening Topic

The whitening strips are easy to use and cause minimal irritation to gums.  Other stronger treatments can cause gum irritation and should not be used if an abrasion or irritation is already present.  The at home teeth whitening trays can cause a negative reaction similar to what is experienced with professional treatments.  That is a sharp shooting pain that occurs in the front teeth.

People with receding gums or cracks in their teeth are the most likely to experience that reaction.  Reports indicate that redheads, with no other risk factor, often experience the problem too, although no one can explain why.

It is possible to purchase reusable trays or disposable ones.  Your dentist can provide one that is custom fit.  The least expensive trays are the disposable variety, costing less than $20 for two treatments.  They are left in for 45 minutes and used for two days in a row.  Bleaching occurs over time, as it does with the other methods.  You can expect to see the highest degree of lightening after 2-4 weeks.

Your dentist can also provide an at home teeth whitening kit.  The concentration of the bleaching agent hydrogen peroxide is higher in the dentist provided kits.  So, there is a higher degree of lightening in a shorter period of time.  The cost ranges from around $100 to $400, depending on the region that you live in.  

These treatments are not covered by insurance.  So, from an economical standpoint, it’s a good idea to try an inexpensive  at home over-the-counter teeth whitening kit first.