Is Home Teeth Whitening the Best Bleaching Choice for You?

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Which Teeth Whitening Systems Work?

There are a variety of teeth whitening systems to choose from.  Effectiveness and cost varies.  Some treatments are provided only by dentists.  Others are available over the counter.  Here’s a look at your options, starting with your toothpaste.

Your whitening toothpaste may contain hydrogen or carbamide peroxide in very low concentrations.  In higher concentrations, those are bleaching agents, but they don’t have much effect unless they are used in live-on treatments.  If you have sensitive teeth or gums, peroxide toothpastes will increase sensitivity and irritation.

Natural silica, derived from sand, is included in some toothpastes.  This can get stains out of micro-cracks that occur in tooth enamel over time.  Silica is typically non-irritating, but can cause bleeding in people with gum problems.  To achieve the greatest results and to prevent future staining, always brush after meals and after drinking dark colored beverages.

Hot Teeth Whitening Topic

The most effective teeth whitening systems include a tray that holds a peroxide gel.  This is the kind of procedure that would be performed in a dentist’s office.  Over the counter trays may be left in place for as long as two hours.  Those that contain hydrogen peroxide are generally left in place no longer than 45 minutes.  In a dentist’s office, they are usually left on for 15-20 minutes at a time.  Results are evaluated and the procedure may be repeated, but will not exceed a total of one hour in place.

The cost of the trays varies.  A dentist can provide a custom-fitted one, which is the most expensive, but the most comfortable option.  Reusable rubber trays are available for use with the peroxide gel.  There are also disposable trays that come pre-filled and cost less than $20 for a two-pack. 

Other options like the paint-on teeth whitening systems and the strips are less effective and often cost just as much.  The advantage to the strips and the paint is that they cause little if any gum irritation or tooth sensitivity.  The teeth whitening trays generally cause those problems.  The sensitivity can last as little as a few days or as long as a month.

You might want to consider a professional cleaning, before you invest in over the counter teeth whitening systems.  If it’s been a while, that might be all the help that you need. 

The most expensive procedures are in-office ones, with the laser teeth whitening treatments costing the most at over $1000.  But, professional treatments often last for as long as two years.  Other procedures must be repeated every six months or so.