A Word on Whitening: 3 Ways to Improve Your Smile Safely

by Noelle Reinhold 2/17/2016 3:42 PM

Surveys show that having a healthy smile is the best way to make a positive first impression, so it makes sense that we want to put our best foot, or smile, forward. But with all the whitening pastes, treatments and services available, what are the most effective and safest options out there?

1. Whitening Toothpastes 

The least expensive option for a glowing grin is using a whitening toothpaste. These products include either special abrasives that gently polish the teeth or chemicals that dissolve surface stains.

While this method can be effective, choose your tube carefully. Whitening toothpastes line the aisles, and they are not all created equal. Look for a paste that has received the ADA Seal of Acceptance, which means it meets certain criteria for safety and effectiveness.

2. Over-the-Counter Kits and Strips

Another option to consider is at-home whitening trays, strips or paint-on solutions. Once again, you should look for a product that has been ADA approved. These types of products contain solutions with a percentage of carbamide, which breaks down into hydrogen peroxide and acts as the primary bleaching agent. When using at-home strips, there are some things you should consider:

    • The same solution that whitens your teeth can be damaging to gum tissue. Ensure the gel stays in place and doesn’t go rogue on your gums.
    • Be on alert for an increase in tooth sensitivity. If you notice a change, discontinue use and consult with your dentist.

3. Custom Trays

The most effective method of whitening is with a custom set of trays from your dentist. With this approach, the whitening solution gets into all the areas of your teeth, while still avoiding your gums.

This system is preferred over the in-office options you may see advertised. With a one-time, in-office appointment, a higher concentration of solution is used for a shorter period of time. But stronger doesn’t always mean better. This could lead to dehydrated teeth, which are more likely to return to their original color. It’s better to stick with a lower concentration, used over a longer period of time.

While this custom course has a higher up-front cost, remember that you can keep your trays for future touch-ups, so you’ll only need to repurchase the solution.

When it comes to whitening, you have many options to consider. You can always consult your dentist if you want to know the best option for your unique smile.

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