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There are so many products and techniques available for patients who want to achieve a brighter smile, that it can be difficult to choose the method that is right for you. The best way to begin any teeth-whitening regimen is to schedule an appointment and talk to your doctor about the differences between a professional whitening treatment and using at-home whitening product.
In-Office Teeth Whitening
In a professional appointment at a dental office, called in-office whitening, your dental professional will apply a whitening gel to the surface of your teeth. The entire office visit generally takes about 90 minutes and you will be able to see results immediately.
At-Home Teeth Whitening
Tray bleaching is a type of professional whitening that uses custom-made trays and whitening gel only available through your dentist. The whitening gel is placed in custom-fitted trays that fit perfectly over your teeth. As the peroxide in the gel breaks down, hydroxyradicals help remove stains from your teeth. Instead of one appointment, at-home professional tray whitening generally takes 10-14 days, although you may notice results in as little as three to five days. Some ingredients may be designed for maximum comfort for the longer duration over which they’re worn.
Paint-On Teeth Whiteners
There are many over-the-counter teeth whitening options, which tend to be less expensive and less effective than whitening strips or professional options. Paint-on teeth whitening gel is applied to the tooth using a small brush. The gel hardens into a film coating the teeth, and eventually dissolves in the mouth. As with any teeth-whitening regimen, it’s recommended that you consult with a dental professional before starting.
Teeth-whitening strips are thin, flexible plastic (polyethylene) strips with a thin film of hydrogen peroxide on one side. Usually kits come with different shaped strips intended for either upper or lower teeth. The strips are applied across your teeth and gently pressed to ensure fullest possible contact with each tooth. Teeth-whitening strips are typically worn for 30 minutes a day, twice a day. The duration of treatment will vary.
Whitening Toothpaste and Mouthwash
The least expensive options are whitening toothpastes and mouthwashes. These products work to remove surface stains using mild abrasives. However, unlike the materials used in professional whitening procedures, these products do not lighten the actual color shade of the tooth. Whitening toothpastes affect surface stains and will mildly lighten your teeth.
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