Everyone wants whiter, brighter teeth. Stains and discoloration to tooth enamel are a natural – and, in most case, unavoidable – part of life, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t accompanied by feelings of shame and embarrassment. A smile that is badly stained can affect your confidence and leave you feeling hesitant to speak, laugh or even smile in public; thus, an effective whitening regimen could greatly improve more than your looks – it could actually enhance your entire life. But before you make a decision about whitening your teeth, you’ll need to examine and evaluate the pros and cons of all of the different options available to you, both at home and in the dentist’s office.
One of the first lines of defense in combating tooth discoloration is to purchase an over-the-counter whitening kit from the drugstore. While some of these kits can brighten your teeth a shade or two, keep in mind that the whitening agent will be less concentrated that what you would receive from a dentist, making the product less effective overall. Drugstore whiteners usually take longer to work, and offer less dramatic results when they finally do. Additionally, if you have sensitive teeth or gums, they could prove to be irritating. However, some patients do turn to OTC whiteners between in-office whitening sessions for basic smile maintenance.
The next step up from drugstore kits is tray whitening. Tray whitening can also be performed at home, but it involves using custom trays that have been molded to the shape of your teeth by your dentist for maximum effectiveness, as well as a highly concentrated whitening gel that is stronger than what you can purchase over the counter. The custom molded trays ensure even, consistent whitening that will improve every nook and cranny of your teeth; on the downside, you will have to commit yourself to the whitening process for several weeks in order to achieve maximum results.
Another option that is more effective than whitening at home is to ask your dentist about in-office whitening procedures. There are many different choices available to patients who are interested in improving their smiles via in-office whitening, and in general, you can count on this option to produce the most dramatic results in the shortest amount of time. Plus, since you’ll be under the supervision of your dentist at all times, in-office procedures are the safest for your teeth and gums, and particularly recommended if you suffer from tooth sensitivity.
Finally, laser whitening is currently the fastest and most effective whitening option available. A highly concentrated whitening agent is applied to the teeth and then set with a laser, which allows the agent to penetrate the tooth enamel almost instantly. With this technique, you can expect to see teeth that are up to 10 shades whiter in just one hour! For more information on laser whitening or to find out which option is right for you, contact your dentist today.