Americans are spending more than a billion dollars on teeth whitening products to eliminate the effects of coffee, red wine, and cigarettes. But is tooth whitening worth it? Does it actually work?
There are two types of teeth whitening: in-office and at-home bleaching options. The former is more effective than the latter because your dentist monitors it. Many of the over the counter teeth whiteners have minimal effects. One great example is mouthwash that contains a whitening agent. This product may contain hydrogen peroxide, but you will likely not see visible, dramatic results.
Teeth whitening products will work effectively with extrinsic stains. These are stains from smoking, and drinking colorful beverages. Teeth whiteners will not work if the stains on your teeth are the result of poor oral hygiene. So, if you have not been to your dentist for a while and you are suffering from tooth decay, you will need to work on making your gums healthy again for teeth whiteners to work.
Why Do You Need Your Dentist’s Guidance?
Teeth whiteners contain hydrogen peroxide. If you use too much whitener or whiten too often, your gums become irritated. With over-the-counter whiteners, you will have to wait two or three months to see results. By using at-home teeth bleaching products that you purchase in a dental office, then you could expect to see results within three to four days.
How Often Should You Whiten Your Teeth?
It depends on the teeth whitener you choose. Most in-office teeth whiteners can last more than two years. At Nicholas S. St. George’s Clinic, we perform a quick restoration to the bleaching every time our patients who have undergone a teeth whitening procedure come in for their regular dental cleaning.
In-office whiteners are more expensive than at-home products, but are more effective.. However, at-home teeth whiteners can be a great option, depending on your situation. If you opt for an at-home teeth whitener made by your dentist, he or she will take an impression of your mouth. From that impression, he/she will make a whitening tray, which fits in your mouth. You will wear it like a mouth guard. The whitening material is placed inside the tray. You can wear it overnight or during the day. When opting for an at-home teeth whitening procedure, you must follow your dentist’s instructions on how to apply it and how often you need to wear it.
The bottom line is that you must consult your dentist about teeth whitening. Teeth bleaching products can be harmful, if used improperly, and that is one of the reasons many patients opt to undergo teeth whitening procedures at their dentist’s office.