It is natural for teeth to become discolored and stained over time. Smiles become less bright, less white, and less evenly colored for several reasons. Teeth discoloration occurs due to consuming highly pigmented foods and drinks and as a result of tobacco use. They can also become discolored as a result of age, tooth decay, tartar buildup, disease, and even due to side effects from certain medications.
Regardless of the type of discoloration on your teeth, there are steps you can take to create a brighter, whiter, more evenly-toned smile. While certain stubborn stains or permanent stains might require cosmetic treatments such as veneers, dental crowns, or dental bonding to cover up, others can be effectively addressed with teeth whitening products or treatments.
Types of Teeth Whitening Products and Treatments
At-Home Teeth Whitening Systems
There are a variety of teeth whitening systems available for purchase over-the-counter that you can use at home to brighten your smile. These products include gels, rinses, strips, toothpaste, and even chewing gums. These whitening systems use peroxide in 10-20% concentrations to whiten teeth.
We recommend starting with a lower to middle-range peroxide concentration first. If the products do not irritate your gums or result in tooth sensitivity, then you can try a product with a higher concentration.
These products are effective at whitening teeth. However, they do not work as quickly or as effectively as professional treatments.
Teeth Whitening Toothpaste
Whitening toothpaste (when not a peroxide formula) contains abrasives that are designed to help you remove surface-level stains and discoloration from your teeth when you brush.
Whitening toothpaste is not the best for initial whitening, as it works slowly and does not have the most powerful results. Despite this, they are effective and are also an excellent maintenance tool for prolonging professional teeth whitening results.
One drawback of using whitening toothpastes is if you already have some tooth sensitivity and/or gum recession. An abrasive toothpaste can make these conditions worse, so it is recommended to use a chemical whitener instead of the mechanical action of whitening toothpastes.
Professional Teeth Whitening Take-Home Trays
These teeth whitening systems are only available from a dentist’s office. They typically include a set of personalized trays and a professional-grade teeth whitening gel. Like over-the-counter systems, this gel uses peroxide to remove stains and whiten the teeth. Since it comes from your dentist, however, it will be in a stronger concentration.
Professional take-home teeth whitening systems are highly effective. However, they typically require a greater number of uses before seeing the results you would see with teeth whitening performed in your dentist’s office. This is because, for your safety, take-home whitening systems use a slightly lower concentration of peroxide to achieve results that are still effective while creating a safer process at home.
At Smile Hilliard, our Free Whitening For Life Program utilizes a take-home tray set and it includes the strongest whitening concentration that is sold for home use. Our system is fast, easy and effective. The trays can be used on consecutive days for a quick boost of brightness or once a month to maintain your healthy glow!
Professional In-Office Teeth Whitening
Professional teeth whitening with treatments at your dentist’s office are by far the quickest and most effective. You work directly with your dentist to determine the level of whitening you desire. Since these treatments are professionally administered, you can rest easy knowing that your teeth and gums are safe. Plus, you can be assured that you will achieve your desired whitening results with the fewest possible treatments.
Should You Speak to a Dentist Before Whitening Your Teeth at Home?
Yes, we always recommend talking with your dental care provider before using at-home whitening products. Depending on your dental health history, some at-home teeth whitening products might not be appropriate or effective for you. We especially recommend checking with your dentist before whitening your teeth at home if you have any of the following:
- Dental restorations such as dental fillings, dental crowns, dental veneers, dental bridges, dental implants, dental bonding, or dentures (these restorations cannot be effectively whitened at home)
- Sensitive teeth
- A single dark or discolored tooth
- Severe stains or discoloration
- Gum recession
All of these issues can affect your teeth whitening results.
How Long Does Professional Teeth Whitening Last?
Professional teeth whitening can last for years if you protect your teeth from further staining. However, consistently avoiding all of the things that can stain teeth (coffee, tea, red wine, chocolate, berries, colas, and tobacco products) can sometimes be difficult. You can, however, prolong the results of your professional teeth whitening treatments by using at-home whitening products such as whitening toothpaste.
Professional Teeth Whitening and Cosmetic Dentistry Treatments in Hilliard Ohio
At Smile Hilliard, we have a variety of professional teeth whitening options available, and our dentists can help you determine the teeth whitening method that is best for you based on your whitening needs, dental health history, and personal preferences. To learn more about professional teeth whitening or about our Free Whitening For Life program, we welcome you to contact our office or request an appointment online today.