Types of Teeth Whitening Methods

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When it comes to teeth, we all want to have the bright, white smile of our dreams. However, achieving that isn’t always an easy feat. 

Types of Teeth Whitening Methods

Causes of Teeth Yellowing and Staining

In our daily life, our eating and dental hygiene habits constantly contribute to the wear and tear of our teeth. Certain beverages and foods such as coffee and tomato-based sauces are prone to causing yellowing and staining. Other habits such as smoking, teeth grinding, and taking an excess of fluoride are also factors that can contribute to the deterioration of enamel.

Teeth enamel is the white, thin covering in our teeth that lives over the second layer: dentin, which is yellowish in color. As enamel decays, dentin is revealed which shows up as the yellow discoloration we see in our teeth, especially as we age. 

This is one of the main reasons that lead us to seek out teeth whitening solutions. In this article we will show you different options that fall into two categories: at-home methods and in-office treatment. We will show you some of the pros and cons that come with each one so you can decide which method best fits your budget, needs and goals.

Over-The-Counter Whitening Products

Local pharmacies and other establishments usually offer multiple over-the-counter teeth whitening options. These include but are not limited to whitening strips, gels, whitening toothpaste and rinses.

Many of these can achieve your goals; however, professional treatments usually contain a higher concentration of whitening agents than these products do. While they are generally more affordable, it might take a longer and more pronounced use of them in order to see results that are noticeable.

Natural Remedies: 

Baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, or lemon juice are some of the natural remedies people often use at home while brushing their teeth. While some people see a difference in their teeth whitening through these methods, it’s very important to be cautious if you attempt these, as they can cause abrasion and even contribute to decay.

The acidic nature of these substances may also cause damage to the tooth enamel when not used properly. And as we’ve learned, enamel decay will only add to the yellowness and discoloration we are trying to avoid.

Charcoal-Based Products

Another natural teeth whitening method that deserves its own category due to its recent popularity is activated charcoal. The most common ways to apply it are through a toothpaste or a powder that is charcoal-based. These are used to brush, or coat the teeth. The product sits on the teeth for a few minutes, then it’s rinsed with water.

Charcoal is said to take away toxins and stains, which results in a whiter smile. However, the jury is still out on how effective this method truly is and as with other natural remedies, it can be abrasive. For this reason it is not recommended for everyday use.

Whitening Kits

There are whitening methods that you can only obtain through a dental professional but that are meant to be used at home. These products, commonly known as whitening kits, are composed of trays which are custom-fitted and a whitening gel.

The gel is used to fill the trays, which are worn for a certain amount of time. It might only be for a few hours throughout the day, but if recommended by your dentist they may be worn overnight as well. According to Fab Dental, these products are meant to be utilized only for a limited amount of time, whether it be a couple of days or a few weeks as recommended by your dentist.

This treatment tends to be more affordable than in-office visits. Overuse may lead to abrasion and over-sensitivity of the teeth. However if instructions are followed it is a very effective and safe option. While the amount of the whitening solution you get is usually not as high as what you would through a dentist-conducted treatment, the progress is gradual and it ensures long lasting results.

Professional Teeth Whitening 

The ultimate form of teeth whitening is the one conducted by a dental professional. This treatment is only performed in-office, by a dentist. The process consists of the application of a powerful teeth whitening gel which contains hydrogen peroxide or another agent called carbamide peroxide.

This gel is often activated through the use of a light or laser specially designed for this purpose. While it is the most expensive option, it has the most dramatic, fast results out of all the previous methods listed. Results can be seen in only one visit, and it is recommended that only one session be done per year. Doing more could lead to enamel deterioration which can cause yellowing to occur.

After carefully evaluating the different teeth-whitening methods out there, remember to make sure to consult with a dental professional before starting your treatment journey. Together you can analyze the pros and cons of every option and come up with a plan that best fits your needs, goals and budget. Ensuring that the method you choose is safe and adequate for your particular dental needs is paramount to obtaining long-lasting, solid results. 

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