Teeth Whitening and Bleaching: What You Need to Know

Want a brighter smile? Nowadays, it is reassuring to know it’s something you can easily achieve through teeth whitening.

As far as teeth whitening goes, there are two available options: at-home care or in-office based teeth bleaching.

Both teeth whitening options make use of bleaching agents that are peroxide-based. While at-home systems only contain around 3 to 20 percent peroxide, in-office systems contain around 15 to 43 percent peroxide.

If you are considering getting your teeth whitened, the following are some of the considerations you need to take into account:

In-Office Teeth Whitening

If you want to hasten the result of the teeth whitening process, getting it done by your dentist is your best option. Bleaching used in in-office teeth whitening is much stronger compared to at-home kits.

In addition, light, heat, or a combination of both may be used to intensify and speed up the whitening process.

If you want to achieve dramatic results—teeth that’s three to eight shades brighter—you’ll need a few 30 to 60-minute visits to your dentist. Some dentists will use techniques that will only require single 2-hour appointments.

Check with your dentist if that is your preference. Also, while the cost of teeth whitening in-office varies, it typically ranges from $500 to $1, 000.

At-Home Teeth Bleaching Options

For teeth whitening done at home, there are several options available. Some of the most common include:

  • Teeth whitening toothpastes. Since teeth whitening toothpastes can be mildly abrasive, they are able to remove stains from your teeth. In addition, whitening toothpastes can also contain polishing agents or chemicals that scrub stains from the teeth. While this option is very affordable, teeth whitening toothpastes can only whiten teeth by a single shade. Even if some whitening toothpastes that contain peroxides are left on the teeth, often they are not left long enough to provide any whitening benefits.
  • Tooth whitening gels and strips. This kind is applied to the teeth directly as a thin strip or using a brush. These peroxide-based teeth bleaching alternatives have to be applied once or twice daily for 10 to 14 days. Results can typically last for 4 months or more. This teeth whitening option can cost around $10 to $55.
  • Tray-based teeth bleaching systems. This alternative will make up of a mouth guard-like tray that’s filled with peroxide-based paste or gel that’s placed over the teeth for several hours daily for up to four weeks. You have the option to purchase and use over-the-counter tray-based teeth whitening systems or you can have one that’s custom-fitted by your dentist. Typically, the cost can range from $150 up to $600.

Keeping Your Teeth White

Regardless if you’ll opt for the at-home options or have the procedure done professionally by your dentist, the aftercare you should observe is pretty much the same.

To warrant teeth whitening lasts longer, make sure you floss, brush, and rinse daily. As an added precaution, avoid tannin-rich and acidic foods and beverages like:

  • Black coffee and teas
  • Red and white wine
  • Berries and other foods that are strongly coloured
  • Sports drinks
  • Carbonated beverages like light and dark coloured sodas
  • Sauces (curries, tomato, and soy)