San Diego Cosmetic Dentist: What Types of Teeth Whitening are There?

Nothing can make a person seem instantly more attractive quite like a bright smile. For some of us, however, stained and yellow teeth can destroy our confidence to flash our most beautiful smiles.

Fortunately, teeth whitening offers an answer to less-than-perfect ivories. The procedure can either be done at home on your own with an over-the-counter (OTC) kit, at home with a professionally prescribed treatment, or in the office of your San Diego cosmetic dentist.

Teeth Whitening

Each type of teeth whitening has its pros and cons. To know what’s right for you, it’s best to understand what these are.

OTC (Over the counter) Teeth Whitening Kit

Pros:

  • Convenient

Cons:

  • Only removes surface stains
  • Results are not immediate
  • Generic mouthpiece that might not fit very well
  • Not recommended if your teeth and gums aren’t particularly healthy
  • Over-the-counter teeth whitening kits offer limited stain removal from the comfort of your own home. These come with a mouthpiece and a whitening gel.

The whitening gel included in the kit uses either carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide as an active ingredient. As a general rule, carbamide peroxide whitening gels take longer to show results, and the higher the hydrogen peroxide content, the faster the action. Still, do not expect OTC kits to remove anything other than surface stains.

OTC kits are typically intended to be used overnight, every night, over the course of several days, weeks, or even months. To use, the gel is applied to the mouthpiece, which you wear before you go to bed.

Professional At-home Whitening

Pros:

  • Custom mouthpiece that’s guaranteed to fit well
  • Quicker results
  • Professional supervision

Cons:

  • Results are not immediate
  • Only removes surface stains
  • Professional at-home whitening is similar to using an OTC kit, except that a custom-fitted whitening tray is made especially for your mouth. This allows more bleaching gel to get to the surface of your teeth.

The custom-fitted tray also stays put better. This means that a stronger and more effective bleaching agent, even one which could damage the gums, can be used. Despite this, don’t expect anything more than surface stains to be removed by professional at-home whitening.

In-office Whitening

Pros:

  • Immediate results
  • Removes deeper stains
  • Professional supervision

Cons:

  • Possible temporary tooth sensitivity
  • For the best whitening results, nothing beats getting your teeth treated at your dentist’s office.

San Diego cosmetic dentistry practices that offer in-office whitening use a special light to speed up the process. Results are instant, but two or three one-hour-long sessions might be required, depending on the amount of whitening needed. Due to the strength and speed of the treatment, some people report tooth sensitivity that eventually disappears.

(Source: Professional Teeth Whitening, HowStuffWorks)