Many people think it is easy to have the white teeth that you see so much on the TV. What you see in magazines may have been photo re-touched and most of the movie stars and models probably have veneers. Veneers are a half crown placed over the natural teeth and this procedure can be very expensive.

Over the counter whitening products

Teeth whitening can be done with over the counter whitening products purchased from the supermarket. There are many products like white-strips, or pre-fabricated trays with gel, or gel pens. However those products are not as effective as some of the procedures that can be performed at your dentist or hygienist. Caution should be taken not to over use them, and if you feel your gums or teeth start to tingle or become sensitive, you should stop immediately.

Whitening toothpaste can remove some of the stains on your teeth but they can be too abrasive. They should not be used on a regular basis, as they could thin your enamel. They rarely contain carbamide peroxide or any other bleaching agent.

Bleaching methods use carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide. Carbamide peroxide can be less effective, but patients experience less sensitivity of the teeth and irritation of the gums than hydrogen peroxide.

Dental office – Home whitening products

If you prefer to do home whitening, your dentist or hygienist can make a mold of your teeth and create a customized tray for you to use at home. You will be given some whitening gel to apply to the tray and wear it for a few hours each day, or overnight. This can take up to six weeks to achieve whiter teeth. The products that are given at the dental office, are much stronger than over the counter products available.

Dental office – In office teeth whitening procedures

When considering in office teeth whitening, the dentist or hygienist may examine the patient and decide if the patients’ health, and dental history is suitable for the procedure of whitening. A shade guide is used to measure tooth colour before and after to determine the effectiveness of the whitening procedure. You may need to wear a special shield to protect your gums, then a concentrated gel is applied directly to your teeth. The gel is then activated with a light. This treatment usually takes approximately an hour.

Laser bleaching

The light sometimes referred to as laser bleaching, which is used in the teeth whitening procedure, uses light energy to accelerate the bleaching process. There are different types of energy which can be used, but the most common ones are halogen, LED or plasma arc. However the use of the light during the bleaching process can increase the chance of tooth sensitivity.