Friday, September 5, 2014

At-Home Tooth Whitening Options

Do you have yellow teeth? Do you want your teeth to be whiter? Are you overwhelmed with the selection of whitening products out there?

Selecting one of the many different tooth-whitening systems available today can be very confusing. There are whitening toothpastes, whitening gums, nonprescription whitening kits to be used with trays, whitening strips, whitening gels, professional mouthguard-like tray whitening systems, and professional in-office whitening procedures (with and without light activation). To simplify all of these, we have narrowed the field to three very different and practical options - Crest Professional Strength Whitestrips, custom-made tray home whitening systems, and over-the-counter gels. All have advantages and disadvantages and all have the potential to whiten your teeth. The following discussion should give you a fair overview of each type and help you to make an informed decision about which system is right for you.

At-Home Mouthguard Tray 
At-home mouthguard tray tooth whitening has been around the longest. It is most appropriate for those 18 years of age and older. Impressions are made of your teeth (both upper and lower), stone models are made from the impressions, and a mouthguard is molded that exactly matches your teeth. The whitening solution is supplied to you in syringe containers. You will dispense a slight amount into the mouthguard tray at each tooth and place the tray over your teeth. Only a small amount of whitening material is needed. The trays are worn for about one hour daily. A color change can be noticed in 3 to 5 days, but the complete process can take 2 to 3 weeks, depending on the original color of your teeth.

teeth-whiteningThe teeth will stay white for 12 to 24 months and you can keep the new color longer by "touching up" with a one- or two-day application of bleach once a year. The ideal time to touch up is after having your teeth professionally cleaned. We have touch-up tubes of bleach available for purchasing. This process does not harm the teeth in any way. The disadvantage to this technique is cost. The total cost of the impressions, models, custom mouthguard trays, and the initial supply of bleach is $100-$400.
Crest Professional Strength Whitestrips
Crest Professional Strength Whitestrips are a new whitening option. Clear strips containing the whitening solution are placed over the upper and lower teeth twice a day for 30 minutes a day, for 21 days. The professional kit also contains a toothbrush and whitening toothpaste. The professional version is 42% more effective than the over-the-counter Whitestrips. The Crest Professional Strength Whitestrips is quite affordable at $50 a kit. The disadvantages are that he strips are not custom-made so that they do not cover as many teeth or fit as well or as comfortably as the tray system. The strips work best for teeth in good straight alignment. They may need to be rewhitened at 6-month intervals according to the manufacturer; we have found the whitening to last satisfactorily for a longer time.

Over-The-Counter Gels
New over-the-counter gels are available that can be painted onto the tooth surface. Colgate Simply White, Crest Night Effects, and Go Smile ampules are a few of the products currently available. These clear gel formulas are applied to the teeth twice a day for 2 weeks. The gels will effectively work to whiten your teeth until it is washed away by your saliva. Because there is no way to determine and compare the salivary flow of patients, we cannot determine how effective the brush-on gel will work for you. This method is ideal for teenagers to young adults who may desire only a slight change in color. These over-the-counter gels are the least costly of all the methods but will also produce the least dramatic whitening results.

Any of the described systems can work. The degree of color change will depend on the original color of your teeth and how faithful you are to adhering to the treatment process. The custom trays are the most reliable of the methods, with the color change lasting a long time, but they are the most expensive of the three methods. The Crest Professional Strength Whitestrips can also produce results, but the color change may not last as long and may require more frequent touch ups, but they are inexpensive. 

32 comments:

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