Types of Teeth Whitening at Home and at the Dentist

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We’ve all been there, right? You are out with friends, and someone says, ‘You have something in your teeth.’ The struggle to free your teeth of food begins. Awkwardly you cover your mouth with your hand while you work to rid your smile of food. Until you can confirm through your friend or a mirror that the food is gone, self-consciousness persists. When you have discolored teeth – that is how you feel most of the time.

Too embarrassed to laugh or smile for photos? You don’t want to show people your somewhat yellow teeth?

The good news is that you are not alone. One of the most common cosmetic reasons for visiting the dentist is teeth whitening. At-home teeth whitening kits are also popular options for those of us who feel less confident in our smiles.

Teeth Whitening Options at Home

Teeth whitening can be done on your own using one of the following home methods:

  • Toothpastes and Rinses – Whitening pastes and rinses are the most common method, but you will not achieve significant results with them. They have minimal impact because they are only very briefly on your teeth. This isn’t to say they shouldn’t be in your arsenal. If you use them as a way to constantly maintain the color that was achieved in the professional whitening process, they can be very effective.
  • Whitening Kits – You typically use a kit for an hour each day for 14 days. This depends on the type you use. Gel kits are a common choice, and once you have put the tray filled with gel in, you can do some chores, work, ortake a nap. There are some brands that can be used overnight. Kits are really easy to use – the instructions and clear and the gel easy to measure.
  • Whitening Pencil – An express method for lovers of coffee and strong tea is a whitening pencil. Within 10 minutes, you can return the enamel to its original shade, but the next time you drink tea or eat bright fruits, you will need to repeat the procedure.
  • Whitening Strips – These are really easy to use and give pretty quick results. The clear plastic strips usually contain hydrogen peroxide, one of the fastest and more effective ways to get whiter teeth on a budget. You really should consider if these will work for you if you have sensitive teeth though.
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Teeth Whitening Methods Used By Dentists

Professional teeth whitening, like any other beauty procedure, gives more reliable results than any home method. The dentist will be able to make your teeth whiter by several shades at a time, choosing a safe method that is right for you personally.

Chemical bleaching

During this procedure, the patient’s gums are protected with a latex plate and a special gel is applied to the teeth. Despite the high concentration of the bleaching agent, this method is quite gentle and can whiten your teeth by only 5-7 tones. Also, you cannot use this method if you already have polymer fillings, crowns, or veneers.


This method is based on the activation of a gel containing hydrogen peroxide with appropriate radiation (halogen, ultraviolet, or LED lamp). After the procedure, the dentist applies a fluoride preparation to the teeth to protect the enamel and reduce its sensitivity. Using this method, it is possible to lighten teeth 8-10 tones.

Laser whitening

Perhaps, this is the most expensive but, at the same time, the most effective method. In this method, a special separating gel is activated with a laser. Such bleaching is highly effective and has a prolonged effect, so the method is beneficial in the long term.


Dentists may suggest this method if the tooth has been severely discolored as a result of a root canal filling or treatment. In this case, a special composition is placed directly into the tooth, which is then sealed. After some time, the color of the tooth is restored.

In addition, your dentist may suggest that you use a customized teeth whitening kit at home. This kit includes a custom mouth tray made from an impression of your teeth and a whitening gel. Fitting perfectly to your teeth, the tray helps the whitening gel spread more evenly and effectively.

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Who Should Not Whiten Their Teeth

Unfortunately, not everyone should try to whiten their teeth. Children, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not use teeth whitening services. If you’re allergic to peroxide, bleach, or other chemicals, you shouldn’t take the risk either. Do not carry out the whitening procedure if you have sensitive teeth, gum disease, worn enamel, caries, and bare roots, or you have numerous fillings and crowns. Teeth whitening procedures have the potential to lead to teeth sensitivity. For people with healthy teeth, sensitivity can go away within a few days. But for people with cavities, teeth whitening can interfere with the structure of their teeth and lead to problems such as infections. Strong bleaching agents can also cause gum irritation and even an upset stomach.

For some, teeth whitening may not be a good option because of lifestyle. Smokers, coffee lovers, fans of strong tea or heavily staining foods may find their efforts wasted unless they first change their habits.

However, if you are able to pursue whiter teeth, you will love your smile afterward. Your teeth will naturally look healthier. Instead of feeling embarrassed or self-conscious when you smile, you will confidently show off your beautiful smile.

Priscilla Lundquist

Adapted from an article written by Oleg Goncharov, DDS.

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