When it comes to teeth whitening, standards for "white teeth" are at an all-time high.
What was considered natural white, is now yellow to people. Add that to the fact that it is estimated that over 100 million people drink coffee daily, it gets harder everyday to keep a healthy white smile, especially in Midtown Houston, near all the awesome coffee shops.
For many, the whiter the teeth the better. But how can you get closer to a whiter smile?
Here are 6 types of teeth whitening that you can start using today to get a whiter smile.
Additionally, there are also some things patients can do outside of whitening that can help prolong the effects of whitening. And to no-one's surprise, it all has to do with diet. Eating better foods can help get a healthier smile.
Unfortunately that's easier said than done.
In the meantime, here's some information on each kind of teeth whitening method, all of which are easier to do than most diets:
Whitening toothpaste is perhaps the easiest teeth whitening method you can do on this list.
Ideally you’re brushing your teeth daily and your following a good routine already. All that is needed to do is to replace your toothpaste with a whitening toothpaste. It’s also relatively a less expensive method compared to the other teeth whitening methods on this list and all it takes to get is a trip to your local grocery store.
Although easy to use, whitening toothpaste has major flaw when it comes to truly whitening your teeth to higher shades.
Here’s what whitening toothpaste can do for your smile:
Whitening toothpastes only help to remove surface stains and prevent outer stain buildup. Again Whitening toothpastes will not whiten teeth the way in-office or at-home peroxide-based treatments can because they do not contain a high amount of whitening agent.
Instead of a teeth whitening method, whitening toothpastes would be better thought of as a way to help maintain a smile after a more professional whitening treatment has been completed.
Whitening toothpastes can begin to lighten teeth within two to six weeks of daily use.
Whitening strips are also quite easy to get a hold of and are pretty cost effective.
They’re also found at most places like grocery stores next to the whitening toothpastes. They're usually made up a thin film with a whitening agent that's placed over the teeth. So they’re quite easy to use. Whitening strips along with a whitening toothpaste would be a great place to start if you’d like to start somewhere with a teeth whitening at-home procedure.
The downside of this method is that it may take longer to produce the desired results depending on the strength of the whitening agent that they contain. In order to get real results you’d have to continue use daily for up to 3 months. Some have complained, depending on the amount of whitening agent and the color of their teeth before use, that results were not as expected and did not get their teeth to a whiter shade.
Others complained that the strips can get difficult to use and some have a hard time keeping them in place. Some have also complained of the strips leaving their teeth with white spots.
But because they're easy to get and relatively easy to use, results for you may vary and it might be worth giving them a try if you’d like to try to get a whiter shade and you have the time it takes to get there.
Whitening strips can begin to lighten teeth within two weeks of daily use.
Pre-made whitening trays
Pre-made whitening trays are in a lot of ways similar to whitening strips.
They’re also quite easy to get and pretty easy to use. All you need to do is place the upper tray on your upper teeth, make sure the positioning is right, bite down on the tray then suck on the tray/whitening strip, remove the outer tray leaving the inner tray/strip on teeth and let the whitening agent do it’s job. You would then follow the same steps for the lower teeth.
Some however have complained.
Sometimes these kinds of whitening trays may not always fit properly, meaning some of the whitening agent can reach the gums causing them to turn white and numb. Although the gums should go back to normal within 3 hours, it can surprise many if unaware.
Also, whitening trays can begin to lighten teeth within three days and typically by one or two shades, so like whitening strips, whitening trays may be worth trying.
Custom-made whitening trays
Custom-made whitening trays are made in-office by a dentist and are custom made for your mouth and so are much more likely to fit properly.
Additionally, custom-made trays are usually strong enough to avoid damage during wear. They’re easy to fit and easy to remove, should not cause irritation to the gums so they don’t turn white and numb, and be thin enough to be well tolerated in the mouth. These trays also smooth and well polished so that there are no rough edges, meaning they fit comfortably during use. Custom-made trays should also be easy to clean and rinse after their use.
Custom-made trays do require the help of a dentist since they’re custom made to fit your mouth and so are not as easy to get as store bought whitening trays but they do whiten more efficiently.
They do however allow for a higher whitening shade since they can have a higher percentage whitening agent than that of the pre-made trays.
Whitening trays can begin to lighten teeth within a few days depending on the amount of whitening agent.
Whitening rinses, like whitening toothpastes, are easy to use and easy to find.
There is a big downside to using rinses however. Whitening rinses usually contain a kind citric or phosphoric acid, which may be harmful to your teeth because continued rinsing may cause tooth wear.
There have been cases where patients tried using rinses to whiten their teeth. Their teeth went dark but continued using the rinse. The darkening of teeth occurred because the acid rinse had worn the enamel away and the darker shade was in fact the dentin that became exposed.
With that said, whitening rinses can be effective for some if used properly.
To start seeing results with rinses, it would take a use of twice daily for up to 3 months.
The fastest and most efficient way to reach the desired shade in tooth whitening is in-office whitening by a professional.
This method is ideal for people who have a special event coming up soon and need the quickest way to whiten their teeth. In office teeth whitening is best suited for people who are expecting to be in a wedding, graduation, or are going on vacation and don’t have the time to follow a strict whitening routine from an at-home whitening system.
There is a downside to in-office teeth whitening however, some patients have found that there is more of a chance of tooth sensitivity due to a higher percentage of whitening agent that’s used to whiten. Also there are situations where teeth whitening might not be recommended if there are other more important issues involved with the teeth or the patient has a dental prostethic that won’t whiten through normal whitening agents.
Although not as simple as buying toothpaste, in-office whitening can be as easy as simply making an appointment with your local dentist. In-office teeth whitening has one major upside:
Effects last longer.
Also, the procedure is generally quick and should be made comfortable and relaxing from your dentist. Your dentist should also be sure to show you before and after photos so that you notice the changes and lighter shade differences in your teeth.
In-Office whitening can begin to lighten teeth within a 30-60 minute session depending on the shade of whiteness the patient wants to get.
How long does teeth whitening last?
The effects of teeth whitening can depend on the method of whitening used, the dental routine, and the eating habits of the patient.
With in-office teeth whitening, with a patient that avoids food and beverages that stain teeth and is a non-smoker, results can last up to 3 years. Otherwise it is likely that teeth whitening results can last for up to a year or more.
For longer results, a mix of in-office and custom whitening trays is recommended. Your dentist will offer more information based on your dental situation and desired outcome. With other methods, teeth whitening can last anywhere from a few months to a year.
Overall tooth whitening is a very safe procedure, when performed correctly. The process can cause certain side effects if done incorrectly and results can vary.
If interested your dentist should be able to discuss the teeth whitening procedure to inform you of what you can expect including any possible issues. Your dentist should also be sure to provide you with options and make the experience a comfortable and relaxing one.