Who doesn’t dream of having a dazzling smile? Sparkling white teeth are not only beautiful but also a marker of good health and hygiene. Luckily, numerous options are now available for whitening your teeth. Among the choices, two major trends stand out: teeth whitening at home and teeth whitening at the dentist’s office. But which of these methods is the most effective and the least risky?
Keep reading for valuable information and useful advice to help you improve the appearance of your teeth without damaging them.
Teeth whitening: caution is the key
The teeth-whitening procedure generally consists of applying hydrogen peroxide to the surface of the teeth in order to improve the color of the enamel. But be careful! If you fail to use the product correctly, for example, if you leave it on too long or use it too often, it can weaken the enamel, leading to hypersensitive teeth. That’s why it’s very important to make a careful, informed decision when it comes to choosing your teeth-whitening method.
Teeth whitening at home: is it effective?
A plethora of over-the-counter products for whitening your teeth at home are available at your local pharmacy or online. The majority of these products are either whitening toothpastes or whitening kits. However, before undergoing a treatment with products sold at your pharmacy, it’s recommendable to consult your dentist to evaluate your oral health and ensure that you don’t have any cavities, abscesses or lesions and that any restorations are in good condition.
There are two different types of whitening toothpastes: those that use abrasive ingredients to remove superficial stains and those that use a chemical (hydrogen peroxide) to restore radiance to the teeth. The toothpastes containing abrasive agents only work on the surface of the teeth and can easily damage the enamel. In the case of toothpastes containing hydrogen peroxide, the active ingredients are at a concentration that’s too low to procure a satisfactory level of whitening.
In comparison with whitening toothpastes, the whitening kits for sale at your local pharmacy have a higher concentration of whitening ingredients. These kits generally include one-size-fits-all trays and whitening strips. While the treatment may give the impression that the teeth are shinier, even here, the concentration of active ingredients is insufficient to produce conclusive results.
Finally, we should point out that very few scientific studies support the efficacy of over-the-counter whitening products.
What are the risks of teeth whitening at home?
When you opt to have your teeth whitened at the dental office, you’ll benefit from the experience of professionals in a secure environment. In contrast, choosing to whiten your teeth at home may pose certain risks.
Here are some of the more common ones:
- Products that are poorly adapted to the shape of your teeth
- Inconsistent results
- Premature wear and weakening of the teeth
- Tooth sensitivity
- Permanent damage to the enamel
- Gum irritation and burning
Can you whiten your teeth using natural methods?
In recent years, various natural teeth-whitening methods have gained popularity. These methods usually employ baking soda, lemon juice, activated carbon, coconut oil or apple cider vinegar. While all of these substances can be somewhat effective at removing stains, you should proceed with caution. For example, activated carbon is extremely abrasive. In the case of other substances, such as cider vinegar, the high level of acidity can damage the enamel of your teeth unless you use the product sparingly.
If you have high expectations of achieving appreciable, lasting results, it’s preferable to opt for a teeth-whitening treatment at your dentist’s office. Only your dentist can advise you adequately as to the best whitening treatments in your particular case.
Teeth whitening at the dentist: how does it work?
You may be wondering what teeth-whitening procedure they use at a dental office. Since it’s essential for you to have healthy teeth and gums before receiving a whitening treatment, your dentist will first perform a thorough examination of your mouth. If your oral health is good, your dentist will then recommend a personalized treatment based on your budget and the results you hope to achieve. Another advantage of having your teeth whitened at a dental office is that you’ll benefit from custom trays, unlike those contained in the whitening kits sold in stores.
What products do they use?
Hydrogen peroxide is the active ingredient in the products the staff at your dental office will apply to your teeth. You can expect the whitening session to last approximately one hour, and the results will be instantaneous.
Are there any side effects?
As we’ve already seen, having your teeth whitened at your dentist’s office also involves a chemical process. Therefore, it’s advisable not to abuse the procedure, as it can lead to dentin hypersensitivity and irritated gums. These symptoms are generally only temporary, and your dentist can propose effective solutions to alleviate them.
Teeth whitening: how much should you expect to pay?
The price of teeth whitening varies from dental office to dental office and from place to place, depending on where you live. As a rule, the price will range from $300 to $500.
Healthy habits to keep your teeth white
Adopting good lifestyle habits can help you maintain a radiant smile for as long as possible. Here are a few examples:
- Limit your consumption of coffee, tea and red wine, all of which can stain your enamel
- Avoid sugary carbonated drinks, which can demineralize the enamel
- Avoid smoking
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day and use dental floss
- Visit your dentist once or twice a year for a deep cleaning
Entrust your teeth whitening to professionals
Are you looking for an effective teeth-whitening treatment? At Clinique Dentaire Charles Trottier, we care about your oral health! At our offices, you’ll benefit from state-of-the-art facilities and a warm, welcoming team that’s ready to respond to your needs. Contact us to learn more!