Whitening Wisdom: What You Should Know

When it comes to teeth whitening, consumers have a wide variety of choices. The sheer volume of over-the-counter options alone can cause great deal of confusion. Are they safe? Do they work? Which products work best? To help answer these questions, we’ve broken down some common options for a pearly white smile.

In office bleaching

The fastest, albeit priciest, route to bleaching is in-office teeth bleaching. These procedures are also the safest, as they are handled by a dental professional and not a consumer who is capable of misunderstanding the directions for a given over-the-counter method. This procedure will typically take between 1-2 hours and employs the use of bleaching gels with high amounts of hydrogen peroxide. The powerful nature of these gels will often result in teeth that are significantly whiter when compared to take home products.

Whitening tray from your dentist

One alternative to over-the-counter whitening remedies is a custom whitening tray made by your dentist. The tray is fitted specifically for your mouth, can be done in your home just like any over-the-counter whitening procedure, and is typically worn for an hour or two every day until the procedure is complete. This can last for up to a month.

Over the counter

If you decide to go with an over-the-counter whitening option, there are a few pieces of information you should know. Tooth whitening products don’t need FDA approval before landing on the shelves of your local pharmacy, as they are considered a ‘cosmetic’ item. You can rest assured, however, that the FDA has not found a whitening product to be harmful when used correctly.

Just one product-Crest 3D Whitestrips-has received the ADA seal of acceptance, a “symbol that an independent panel reviewed and approved the product for its safety and effectiveness.” However, many over-the-counter whitening products can still yield positive results when used correctly.

One will often experience some degree of tooth sensitivity when using these products, but this will go away once the bleaching process is finished. The whitening process with many of these products can take anywhere between 2-6 weeks.

If you have any questions about teeth whitening, contact your local dentist today!

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