Posted .

That bright white smile you see on movie stars and models isn’t something that only celebrities can have. Whitening your teeth is an easy, painless process that can boost self-confidence and give you the smile that you’ve always dreamed of having. That said, it’s common for patients to feel confused when it comes to which whitener is the right product use.

Understanding the causes of tooth discoloration, dullness and staining is the first step in choosing the product that best matches your needs. Along with this, getting the information on the different options and how they impact teeth can help you to make a decision.

Keep in mind, consulting with a professional is always important before trying any dental product. Talk to your dentist at your regular check-up or schedule a consultation to learn more about how your individual needs match up to each whitening product and process. In the meantime, take a look at the common reasons why people seek whitening treatments and what different options are available.

Stains and Discoloration

There are several different reasons behind the change in your smile’s color. Stains from what you eat and what you drink are common problem-makers. Foods and drinks with dark pigments, such as red wine or coffee, can cause staining over time. One cup of coffee now and then probably won’t cause a problem for you. But if you drink it (or other staining beverages, such as tea) every day, it’s likely you have stains. Along with foods and drinks, tobacco products, including cigarettes and chewing tobacco, can also cause staining.

Not all stains come from what you eat or drink. Age can cause enamel to thin, leaving the yellow-colored dentin under to show through. Injuries to your mouth or teeth can cause a darkening in the enamel. And, some medications can have tooth-darkening side effects.

At-Home Whiteners

Whitening your teeth at home is convenient and often inexpensive. While there are many different options available, none of them will work as well or as quickly as what your dentist has to offer in the office. That doesn’t mean over the counter whiteners don’t work – many do. The difference is in the amount of whitening that you want. In-office procedures often provide a white that is several shades brighter than what you can achieve at home.

Common at-home whiteners include toothpastes, paint-on gels and strips. Toothpastes typically only remove surface stains. This method won’t work if you have discoloration due to age or trauma. Paint-on gels and strips may give you a smile that’s several shades brighter. But they often take several days or weeks’ worth of applications. You may have to wear the gel or strips up to two times, day after day to get the look you want.

In-Office Whitening Options

Why choose an in-office whitening procedure? Professional-level whiteners will give you a brighter smile in much less time than the over the counter varieties will. Office procedures use a whitening gel and an LED light (to activate the gel). Unlike at-home whiteners, the gels used in the office are stronger and may achieve a brilliant white effect in as little as one treatment. Even though an in-office treatment may come with a higher price tag than what you’d use at home, you won’t have to continue to use tube after tube of paste or several boxes of strips. When you factor in repeated use of at-home whiteners, the in-office procedure’s cost may equal out.

Along with the ability to give you a whiter smile, in-office treatments are often much more convenient than the at-home whiteners. A “one time and you’re done” process has time-saving advantages over having to reapply gel or strips every day.

Are you ready for whiter teeth? Advanced Family Dental Care can help.