Teeth Whitening

Brighten Your Smile With Teeth Whitening

There are many different methods for whitening your own natural teeth. You’ve probably seen the ads for dentists who claim to be able to whiten your teeth several shades in just an hour using different lights and lasers. Or perhaps you’ve seen the many over-the-counter (OTC) solutions for teeth whitening. Virtually every teeth whitening method except whitening toothpaste is based on one chemical. That chemical is a special kind of peroxide. Whether you’re purchasing an OTC bleaching product or having the bleaching done in a fancy, high-tech office setting, the peroxide is effectively the same and the results can be, as well.

So, which teeth whitening method should I choose?

There are many different teeth whitening systems available. Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of each system:

Over-the-counter teeth whitening strips

Advantages: Your teeth will eventually get white, they are easy to purchase, and they initially may be cost-effective.

Disadvantages: Because this is not a custom-fit product, the peroxide can have a tendency to get everywhere and can get on your gums. In addition, the strips usually do not cover all of the teeth in your smile, so you may have to use multiple strips for one application. Finally, the concentration of peroxide is comparatively low, so results may take longer to achieve and realize.

Other over-the-counter methods (paint-on, etc.)

Advantages: Your teeth will eventually get white, they are easy to purchase, and they initially may be cost-effective.

Disadvantages: Because the peroxide is not being held against the teeth by any trays or strips, you will probably swallow more of the peroxide. Other disadvantages are the same as the whitening strips. We have not seen any definitive evidence proving the effectiveness of these products.

Teeth whitening toothpaste

Whitening toothpaste does not contain any peroxide and therefore does not possess the same “whitening” qualities that the other products on this page contain. One toothpaste sales representative told us that the only reason these toothpastes can even call themselves “whitening” toothpastes is because they have particles in them that are more abrasive to teeth and therefore may remove some surface enamel that has been stained. In our office, we would much rather lighten the color of stained enamel than remove it by recommending abrasive toothpastes! In fact, we have had many patients who have complained of tooth sensitivity after using whitening toothpastes. We do not recommend these products for their teeth whitening qualities and they do not have the ADA seal of approval for whitening.

Whitening mouthwashes

To our knowledge, these have not been proven to be effective teeth whitening products at all and they do not have the ADA seal of approval for teeth whitening.

Custom trays

Advantages: This is the method that we recommend most commonly in our office. The trays are made of a soft plastic and are custom-molded to your teeth. You can apply the teeth whitening gel on your own at home and you can use a variety of different peroxide strengths. In addition, you are in control of the amount of time the tray is left on and how many times you wear it. If your teeth are sensitive following teeth whitening, we provide you with a fluoride gel that is usually effective at alleviating these symptoms. This is a safe, effective method for whitening teeth.

Disadvantages: You may have to wait a few days for the trays to be made. Also, if you choose to use a peroxide product that is too strong, it could cause tooth sensitivity that we can usually treat effectively.

In-office teeth whitening (Zoom!®, Laser Smile, etc.)

Advantages: In most cases, your teeth can be lightened by several shades in under an hour in our office.

Disadvantages: Peroxide strength is so high that sometimes tooth sensitivity can be a real problem. Plus, if any peroxide gets on your gums, lips or cheeks, severe tissue damage can result. In addition, the systems that use lights, lasers, etc., have been proven to be just gimmicks. Research shows that teeth can be whitened just as effectively with the peroxide alone, without relying on those gee-whiz lights and lasers. Be aware that they are mostly marketing gimmicks.

Summary: In our office, we recommend custom teeth whitening trays with professional-strength whitening gel. We’ve seen that they are the most effective and safest way to whiten teeth.

We welcome patients from Aurora, Colorado Springs, Denver, Lakewood, Thornton and close-by areas.

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