Teeth whitening dilemma: Going to your dentist vs. Doing it yourself
If you want whiter teeth, then you have two options: Paying your dentist a visit or doing it yourself using over-the-counter whitening products. Going to the dentist means either a chair-side in-office teeth whitening or picking up custom bleaching trays to use at home.
On the other hand, there are countless over-the-counter whitening solutions available these days. From whitening toothpaste, mouthwash, whitening strips, paint-on bleaching gels, do-it-yourself home remedies and the list goes on and on. They each promise to give you whiter teeth and to an extent they are all somewhat effective.
So is it worth investing so much more in a professionally administered whitening by your dentist? Or should you start off with over-the-counter whitening products first to see what comes of it?
Pros of in-office dentist whitening
Dentists generally offer one or two different whitening treatments:
- The first is a chair-side in-office dentist whitening treatment. This method applies highly concentrated bleaching gel directly to your teeth for about 30 minutes to an hour. Usually a light source or laser is also used to activate and accelerate the bleaching process. This is the overall most effective and efficient whitening solution available.
- The other treatment your dentist may offer is custom bleaching trays. These trays are made from teeth moldings to precisely fit your teeth surfaces. However, keep in mind that you can’t use as strong of a whitening gel with custom trays if you were to use them at home. Nevertheless custom whitening trays can be very effective as they deliver bleaching gel directly and accurately to all your teeth surfaces.
In-office dentist whitening gives you the quickest results
If you want super-fast results then going to the dentist is your best option. Over-the-counter bleaching products typically take several weeks to months before yielding serious improvements. Keep in mind that over-the-counter bleaching products rarely get your teeth as white as those commercials you may have seen.
Going to the dentist can produce instantaneous results in just one or two visits of around an hour or so each. So if you have a big wedding to attend to this weekend or some other big event coming up soon, then you might want to consider seeing your dentist for an in-office teeth whitening for fastest results.
Going to the dentist likely gives you the best whitening results
Concentration of whitening products that your dentist is allowed to use is significantly higher than anything else available over-the-counter. Professional grade whitening gels are very strong and contain a high concentration of carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide. Reckless use can cause damage to your gums or result in tooth sensitivity. Which is why these stronger bleaching treatments can only be administered by a professional.
Using very high concentrations of bleaching gels should also mean that you will get the best whitening results in most cases. Just make sure that your dentist is using a reliable whitening product and you should see significant improvements in just one to two bleaching sessions. Here is a list of some of the more reliable and effective in-office teeth whitening products currently available:
Dentists administer teeth whitening within a controlled setting
A major benefit of in-office teeth whitening is that it allows for an examination of your teeth beforehand. This could eliminate any unexpected surprises or unrealistic expectations. Your dentist will perform a thorough checkup to make sure there are no issues that’s going to interfere with your bleaching treatment for best results:
- Your dentist will identify sensitive areas such as exposed roots that shouldn’t come into contact with whitening gel. They will cover these areas with a blocking agent during bleaching treatment.
- They will remove any plaque or tartar that covers your teeth beforehand. This prevents surface stains from interfering with the whitening procedure.
- Your dentist will point out any fillings or crowns you have which may interfere with treatment. Dental restorations don’t change color with bleaching treatment so they might interfere with the whitening process. These issues need to be addressed before starting treatment.
- Finally, your dentist can determine if you’re a good candidate for teeth whitening and present you with realistic options. This way your expectations will be in line with reality and you won’t be disappointed if your teeth don’t become blindingly white!
Additionally, your dentist can also provide you with instructions on what to do, what to avoid, and how to best maintain whitening results over time. They can also make you customized bleaching trays for you to take home and continue maintaining the results by yourself. Finally, if you end up developing severe teeth sensitivity, your dentist can apply fluoride or even fabricate fluoride gel trays so you can administer fluoride to help eliminate teeth sensitivity quicker.