What’s the first thing you notice about a person? According to over 60% of people who were asked that in a recent survey, the answer is “their smile.” A great smile is one of those assets that everyone appreciates. For decades, the only way to brighten your smile was with the help of a dentist – but these days, there’s a wide variety of teeth whitening products on the market that can help anyone have a whiter, brighter smile, without the expense and inconvenience of a dentist’s office visit.
Teeth whitening products aren’t exactly new. There have been toothpastes on the market for years that promise to whiten your teeth and give you a brighter, warmer smile. Over the past few years, though, there’s been a wealth of new teeth whitening products on the market. With so many types of products and systems for whitening your teeth available, it can be confusing to choose the one that’s safe and best for you.
Teeth Whitening Tray Systems
One of the most commonly used types of teeth whitening products are tray systems. Essentially, these products consist of a flexible tray that is fitted to your teeth. The tray is designed to hold a bleaching agent in close contact with your teeth for a period of time. Some tray systems are designed to be used in the dentist’s office, some to be prescribed by a dentist and used at home, and some can be purchased over the counter and used at home. Many people opt to wear the trays at night while they sleep.
There are several bleaching agents that are used in teeth whitening products. The one most commonly recommended by dental professionals is a carbamide peroxide 10-22% solution. Carbamide peroxide is a viscous gel form of hydrogen peroxide chosen because it clings to teeth. The better contact that the bleach has with your teeth, the better the effects you’ll get from the whitening procedure.
Most over the counter tray systems use hydrogen peroxide instead of carbamide peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide is safe, but it doesn’t bleach as quickly. In most cases, if you’re using an at-home system, it will take several sessions a day for several weeks to achieve the same results that your dentist can get in his office in two-three ninety-minute sessions. However, you’ll pay for the speed – a doctor’s office whitening treatment can cost you as much as $500 per session. An at-home system may cost as little as $30 for the total treatment.
Teeth Whitening Strips
A second popular method of whitening teeth is the use of teeth whitening strips. Like over the counter tray systems, the active ingredient in teeth whitening strips is hydrogen peroxide. Instead of using a fitted tray and mouthguard, teeth whitening strips are designed to stick to your teeth and hold the hydrogen peroxide against them. They’re far more convenient for most people, who can choose to wear them at night or during the day. Usually, they require several 30-minute sessions a day over several weeks time. On the other hand, they’re not as effective as tray-based systems. Because they only cover the front teeth, only those teeth are affected. In addition, because of the fit, they often leave a yellowed area of the teeth near the gum line.
Teeth Whitening Gums and Toothpastes
Other teeth whitening products include toothpastes, dental floss, and chewing gum. These products contain a very weak solution of peroxide or another whitening agent. Because they don’t stay in contact with your teeth for any length of time, their effect is minimal. However, they are useful in maintaining a brighter smile in conjunction with another teeth whitening method.
White teeth and a bright smile can boost your confidence and improve your appearance. For help in choosing the best teeth whitening product for your teeth, consult a dental professional who can advise you which method will work best for you.