If you are like most people, you want a sparkling, bright smile. Many patients opt for teeth whitening treatments to make that dream a reality. These days there are so many different at-home and professional options, so patients often ask about the types of teeth whitening treatments and the pros and cons of each.
As dental health professionals, our primary goal is the health and safety of our patients. When appropriate, we also offer safe and effective cosmetic treatments like teeth whitening. We know that for many people the radiant smile gives them the confidence to live their best lives. However, safety is our biggest concern.
If you opt for teeth whitening, please avoid unsafe treatments. This includes many over the counter and DIY treatments, after all, if you are like most people you do not have the training or skills to administer treatments to your delicate teeth. Think of it this way, if you are not a trained electrician, would you choose to wire your own house or would you hire a professional?
Among the potentially unsafe at-home treatments is charcoal toothpaste. The toothpaste is abrasive and may remove surface stains but sometimes vigorous brushing will also degrade tooth enamel. Your tooth enamel protects your teeth and the sensitive nerves. Weakened enamel results in increases sensitivity like pain drinking hot or cold liquids. It also makes your teeth more vulnerable to tooth decay. Finally, weakened tooth enamel actually can result in yellower looking teeth as more of the inner layer of your teeth are visible.
If you want to use charcoal toothpaste, please talk to your dentist about it. All too often, people assume that something is safe because it is considered “natural.” A professional can offer objective advice on the pros and cons of any trendy DIY option.
Also, be aware that some at-home dental treatments are being recalled. Even at-home kits that are similar to professional products are less safe and less effective in the hands of non-professionals. If you opt for at-home treatment at least consult with a dentist about which options, if any, are appropriate for you.
Laser teeth whitening can make your teeth a couple of shades whiter within minutes. This professional procedure is very effective. Most patients also find the treatment comfortable and pleasant, they just sit in the dental chair and wait for the treatment to do its magic.
The primary con of laser dental treatment is the increased tooth sensitivity some experience as a result of the treatment.
Another con of laser whitening is the teeth will appear several shades whiter immediately after treatment but the brightness can diminish as the teeth rehydrate.
Whitening strips are a popular and inexpensive option. The relatively lower cost and convenience are the main benefits. Some people like to use whitening strips to get ready for specific events like weddings, class reunions, or photography session. The strips are disposable, easy to use, and good for one-time use. Patients with healthy teeth and gums may benefit from mild whitening using white strips.
The main cons of using white strips is that they are one time use and if you like to maintain your white smile, you will need to replenish your supply often.
Both dentists and your local store off a type of whitening stripe. The main benefits to getting the ones offered by your dentist is the size of the stripe and the densitizer it provides. A common complaint is that the store version are too small and only cover about your 6 front teeth. The dental professional stripes are longer and therefore whiten more teeth covering more of your smile. The other benefit to the whitening stripes provided by your dentist is that they contain a desensitizer. This will help minimize the sensitivity experienced from whitening. Many over the counter stripes do not contain this ingredient.
Whitening strips may not be effective for some types of tooth discoloration such as darkness from trauma and tetracycline staining, which is greying of teeth after certain antibiotic use. In these particular cases the guidance of your dentist is best. Both situations, trauma and tetracycline staining may require a combination of whitening techniques. A dark tooth from trauma may require whitening from the inside as well as the outside.
If you use whitening strips, be sure to discuss the matter with your dentist. Your dentist will be able to monitor your dental health and make appropriate recommendations for the types of teeth whitening treatments.
Under the supervision of your dentist, professional quality tray whitening offers a balance between effectiveness, affordability and safety. This option works for long-term use and the professionally made trays are reusable. Your dentist fits a tray to your unique mouth for a comfortable fit.
With the right fit, many people with sensitive teeth find tray whitening the most comfortable option. This is because the bleaching agent remains in the correct position throughout the treatment. Furthermore, this option gives you better control on just how white you want your teeth to be. The look may be subtly or more obvious.
This method requires professionally molded trays along with professional grade bleach. The quality of the bleach makes a difference. Which is why it is usually better to buy your kits from a professional than online.
If you go this route, always follow your dentist’s instructions concerning how to apply the treatment, how often, and how long. Be sure to discuss new or intensifying tooth sensitivity with your dentist so they can offer options to manage the sensitivity. When you partner with your dentist, you can enjoy the benefits of whiter teeth without causing unnecessary risk or damage to your oral health.
Professionally supervised teeth whitening treatments allow coffee drinkers and red wine drinkers and others to enjoy a more attractive, whiter smile. If you want to maintain your pearly whites or remove stains schedule an appointment today.
Charlotte area residents trust their smiles to Southview Dentistry. Our team of professionals can help you navigate your options if you find yourself asking “What are the different types of teeth whitening treatments?”
Any dental treatment should begin with a thorough examination to ensure the treatment choices are appropriate for your needs. Schedule a consultation today.