Many teeth whitening systems are available, including In-Office treatments, custom fabricated tray-based whiteners, whitening toothpastes, over-the-counter gels, rinses, strips, and trays.
Teeth whitening is ideal for people who have healthy, unrestored teeth (no fillings) and healthy gums. Individuals with yellow tones to their teeth respond best. But this cosmetic procedure is not recommended for everyone.
If you bleach restored teeth they may become lighter than the fillings. You can replace those darker fillings if you like. You cannot bleach crowns or bridges and make them lighter.
Find out if teeth whitening is right for you.
In-office bleaching provides the quickest way to whiten teeth. With in-office bleaching, the whitening product is applied directly to the teeth. These products are used in combination with a special light. Results are seen in only one, 30- to 60-minute treatment. But to achieve dramatic results, several appointments are usually needed and are used in conjunction with custom fabricated bleaching trays and professional-strength bleaching gel. With in-office bleaching, dramatic results can be seen after the first treatment. This type of whitening is the most expensive technique.
All toothpastes help remove surface stains because they contain mild abrasives. Some whitening toothpastes contain gentle polishing or chemical agents that provide additional stain removal effectiveness. Whitening toothpastes can help remove surface stains only and do not contain bleach to actually whiten the teeth.
Over-the-Counter Whitening Strips and Gels
Whitening gels are clear, peroxide-based gels applied directly to the surface of your teeth. Instructions generally call for twice a day application for 14 days. Initial results are seen in a few days and final results are sustained for about four months.
Whitening strips are very thin, virtually invisible strips that are coated with a peroxide-based whitening gel. The strips are applied twice daily for 30 minutes for 14 days. Initial results are seen in a few days and final results are sustained for about four months.
Among the newest whitening products available are whitening rinses. Like most mouthwashes, they freshen breath. These products also include ingredients, such as hydrogen peroxide, which whiten teeth. Manufacturers say it may take 12 weeks to see results. You just swish them around in your mouth for 60 seconds twice a day before brushing your teeth. However, some experts say that rinses may not be as effective as other over-the-counter whitening products. Because a whitening rinse is only in contact with the teeth for such a short time — just two minutes a day compared to 30 minutes for many strips — it may have less of an effect.