Your goal: A white, bright smile. But what is the best teeth whitening option for you? Our Ottawa dentists explain teeth whitening options and the effects they can have.
What is teeth whitening?
Teeth whitening is a cosmetic dental procedure that uses peroxide-based bleaching agents to lighten the colour of your teeth. As the active ingredient degrades, oxygen interacts with the tooth enamel, causing the whitening effect.
What are my options for teeth whitening?
You can now whiten your teeth with a variety of methods. It can be difficult to choose the best one, as each has advantages and can provide positive results. Each procedure, like any other, has some drawbacks.
In-Office Teeth Whitening
The most effective teeth whitening procedures are performed by your dentist in a dental office. This is because the whitening agents in your dentist’s gel are much stronger and produce much more effective results than over-the-counter products.
The procedure typically takes an hour. Your dentist will use a concentrated whitening solution to remove surface stains and lighten the natural colour of your teeth. This produces slightly better results than at-home whitening solutions, which take days or weeks to work.
At-Home Professional Teeth Whitening Trays
This take-home option would be supervised by your dentist. During an initial visit to your dentist, a dental impression will be created to make your whitening trays.
You will take the whitening trays home and administer the teeth whitening treatment yourself. Wear the whitening gel for 30 minutes to a few hours per day for 1 to 3 weeks, depending on what your dentist recommends.
The whitening solution will gradually remove surface stains from your teeth and lighten their natural colour.
Whitening toothpaste works to remove surface stains and whiten your teeth slightly. Keep in mind, however, that whitening toothpaste will not affect the natural colour of your teeth and will not be able to lighten stains that have penetrated below the tooth's surface.
Enamel-strengthening toothpaste can help to defend your teeth from cavities and protect your enamel from further damage, which can prevent stains from developing in the first place.
These small plastic strips are coated with peroxide-based gel. When you apply the strip to your teeth, the peroxide coating removes surface stains, lightening the colour of your teeth.
Typically, you would apply whitening strips daily for two to three weeks, leaving them on for no more than 30 minutes at a time. Because these products contain only a trace of peroxide, the effects are usually subtle.
Porcelain veneers are razor-thin strips of porcelain that are affixed to the fronts of your teeth to improve their colour, shape and symmetry.
If only one or a few of your teeth are discoloured, porcelain veneers may be a practical solution to even out the colour of your teeth.
How do I know which are the best teeth-whitening products?
The best teeth whitening products for you will be determined by a variety of factors, including personal preference, available time in your schedule, and your budget. You might want to look up teeth whitening reviews online to get tips and ideas from people who have gone the professional and/or at-home route.