If you’re like most people, you’ve probably wished your teeth were whiter at some point in your life. Maybe you’ve even gotten your teeth professionally whitened.
There are a lot of different ways you can go about getting whiter teeth. There are whitening toothpastes, over the counter surface stain removers, and even light activated whitening procedures that you can only get at the dentist’s office.
Two Ways to Whiter Teeth
No matter the product and whitening technique you choose, there are only two ways in which surface stains can be removed: bleaching treatments and non-bleaching treatments.
While both techniques get the job done, they work in separate ways. Follow along, as we explain the two separate kinds of whitening procedures, so you can make informed decisions about whitening your teeth.
Bleaching treatments: These procedures work by changing the natural color of your tooth from 5 – 7 shades lighter. These are the most common forms of whitening that occur in a dentist’s office or trays that you can use at home.
Bleaching procedures use an active ingredient that work to remove surface stains when applied to your tooth and activated with oxygen. Usually, bleaching procedures contain carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide.
At-home bleaching systems, like bite trays, tend to be cheaper than a professional bleaching. However, the catch is that at-home systems can also damage your teeth.
We’ve heard horror stories of people using at-home bleaching systems that have resulted in complete enamel damage, leaving the patient’s teeth in sensitive shambles. Some at-home bleaching disasters have even resulted in patients needing veneers to mask their tooth sensitivities.
Light activated bleaching systems at the dentist’s office, otherwise known as “chair side whitening” are more costly, but they’re safer and result in dramatically whiter teeth. Even if you drink coffee and smoke cigarettes everyday, chair side whitening can leave your teeth white as rice.
Non-bleaching treatments: These treatments use a combination of physical and chemical force to remove surface stains. These are found in the form of toothpastes. Toothpastes combine the abrasive qualities of brushing with the chemical agents in whitening toothpastes to remove surface stains. These typically work on mild stains from colored food. If you’re a big coffee and wine drinker or cigarette smoker, you should bring out the big guns by trying a bleaching treatment.
Some whitening treatments will suit your needs better than others, depending on the color of your teeth and the depth of staining. If you do decide to get a bleaching procedure or use an at-home produce, we suggest also trying a sensitivity toothpaste with fluoride.
This will help restore any enamel damage you’ll get from the bleaching product. You also should over whiten. It might be tempting to continue whitening for fluorescent teeth, but you should make sure that you give your teeth a break from time to time.
One of the biggest causes of tooth sensitivity from whitening come from whitening too much. Last but not least, make sure you talk to your dentist. We’re here to help your smile beautiful, and we’ll tell you what kind of whitening will work best for your unique situation. Don’t let a quest for white teeth permanently ruin your smile.