Is Home Teeth Whitening the Best Bleaching Choice for You?

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Bleaching Your Teeth With Today’s Teeth Whitening Options

There are more teeth whitening options today than ever before.  The cosmetic procedure is becoming popular for men and women alike.  It is estimated that only about 15% of the population seeks a professional whitening treatment.  This may be due to the cost, which averages $650 per visit, nationwide, and is not covered by insurance.  Thousands of people are using the over-the-counter products, which are inexpensive and may be just as effective.

There are four basic types of over-the-counter products; strips, tray gel, paint-on and toothpaste.  Toothpaste that contains whitener will clean your teeth a little better than normal toothpaste.  The cost is only two or three dollars.  It is not usually effective on darkly stained teeth and the alcohol formulas cause the side effect of bad breath.  But, since it is the least expensive option, it’s worth a try.

The paint-on products work a little better than whitening toothpastes.  Many people feel that they are easier to use than the strips or the tray-gel.  The cost varies greatly, anywhere between $10 and $90.  You might want to compare the concentration of bleaching agents.  If the more expensive paint contains a higher concentration of peroxide, then it is worth the extra money.  Otherwise, you can stick with the less expensive brand.

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The tray gel and the strips are the most effective over-the-counter teeth whitening options.  The cost is usually between $25 and $50.  The whitening strips are more comfortable and cause less gum sensitivity, although any bleaching agent can cause some gum and teeth sensitivity.  Dentists usually recommend toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth to be used for several weeks or months following a professional treatment.

Assuming that you are not using toothpaste with whitener, one for sensitive teeth would be a good idea for use in combination with home treatments, as well. 

Another of the teeth whitening options that costs less than an in-office treatment, but does require a trip to the dentist, is a prescription gel, designed for use at home.  It has a higher concentration of bleach than the products that you can buy in the drugstore.  The cost is as little as $100 per tube and it works as well as the in-office treatment.  Some dentists feel that it is even more effective than the one-time in-office application, especially on intrinsic stains.

Intrinsic stains are those that are not caused by food or beverages, but by trauma, mineral deposits or aging.  Teeth whitening options are generally most effective on extrinsic stains.  But, in any case, there is hope.