When it comes to teeth whitening, it can be confusing when choosing the right option for your needs. Whether you choose to have your teeth whitened at the dentist's office or at home, there are tons of options — whitening toothpaste, mouthwash, strips, trays — the list goes on and on. This article will cover the various teeth whitening options available today, so read on to find out which method will work best for you.
At-home whitening vs. dentist office whitening
The two main differences between teeth whitening at home and teeth whitening at your dentist’s office are the cost and length of time needed to whiten. The biggest benefit to getting your teeth whitened in the dentist office is that results can be seen in as little as one treatment. In-office treatments usually take 30 to 90 minutes and are typically repeated every four to six months, or until the desired level of whiteness has been achieved.
The other main difference is cost. The average cost of in-office, professional teeth whitening is about $650. You can also get take-home professional teeth whitening kits from your dentist that cost around $250-$400. At-home teeth whitening products can cost as little as $5, but on average are closer to $50.
At-home whitening options
There are a variety of options available to you if you decide to do your teeth whitening at home. Here are the most common options:
- Whitening toothpaste: Whitening toothpaste is one of the easiest options when it comes to teeth whitening, but it typically only whitens your teeth by one shade. Since whitening toothpastes do not contain bleach, they usually are only effective at removing surface stains.
- Whitening mouthwash: Similar to whitening toothpaste, there is no bleach in whitening mouthwash. Whitening mouthwash is used by swishing around in your mouth for 60 seconds twice per day. Some dentists debate the effectiveness of whitening mouthwash since it is only in contact with your teeth for a couple of minutes each day.
- Whitening strips: One of the most popular at-home teeth whitening options are whitening strips. This option uses thin, clear strips coated with a peroxide-based whitening gel, which are applied directly to your teeth for between five and 20 minutes per day.
- Whitening trays: This is another popular option for teeth whitening that involves filling a tray (similar to a mouthguard) with a gel whitening solution and applying to your teeth for between 30 minutes and several hours, sometimes overnight.
Choosing the best option for you
Now that you know more about your options, how do you choose what is right for you? The best way to do this is by talking to your dentist. There are several factors that you’ll want to keep in mind when choosing the right option for you. Come to your appointment prepared with answers to the following questions:
- How many shades do you want to whiten?
- What is your budget?
- How quickly would you like to see results?
By coming prepared with answers to these questions, you and your dentist can choose the option that is the best match considering your needs and your personal oral health history. You’ll be well on your way to a dazzling, white smile in no time.
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