Teeth Whitening

Does Teeth Whitening Really Work?

As people age, it is not uncommon for teeth to become darker. There are many reasons for this including staining from tobacco, food and coffee as well as changes to the enamel and tooth structure that occur over time. Whatever it is that causes the darkening, many people just want their bright white smile back. Teeth whitening, often called teeth bleaching, can often bring back that whiter smile.

Whitening can be done at home or professionally by a cosmetic dentist. Of course, teeth bleaching done in the office is going to be much more expensive than doing it at home.

But for those who don't require results in one visit, the savings of teeth bleaching at home is often the best choice. Strips or trays tend to be more effective than whitening pens as they allow the whitening agent to be in direct contact with the teeth for a longer period of time. Note that if any of the following apply to you, you should visit your dentist before undertaking any teeth whitening measures:

  • Sensitive Teeth. If you have very sensitive teeth, you may not be able to handle some of the teeth whitening options that are available. Your dentist will be able to point you to the products that you may best be able to tolerate.
  • Blue-Gray Discoloration. Blue-gray discoloration is not going to be helped by most teeth whitening products or procedures. Your dentist may be able to offer other options to correct such problems.
  • Gum Disease. If you have gum disease, you should not begin at home teeth whitening until you discuss it with your dentist. You will very likely still be a candidate for teeth whitening, but your dentist may be able to recommend a product or give special guidelines for use based on your gum disease.

When choosing an at home bleaching system, keep in mind that the delivery system is just as important as the product. In addition to holding the product against the teeth, you want to choose the product that will hold the bleaching agent against your teeth most firmly.

That is why molded teeth whitening trays are so effective. They are custom made to fit your teeth and will allow the most penetration of the bleaching agent. If working with a tray that you purchased over the counter, you may not be able to get such a great fit. If using strips, be sure to firmly press the strip against each tooth to get the best results.

The solution available from your dentist is likely to be of a stronger concentration (up to 15%) than what you will get over the counter. Also, as mentioned above, the custom trays will allow better whitening results.

Of course, the over-the-counter options are going to be much less expensive than in-office teeth whitening. Just be prepared that the results may not be as remarkable and will likely take longer to achieve.

So does teeth bleaching work? Absolutely! Whether one chooses an at-home method or leaves their teeth whitening in the hands of a professional, it is a quick and painless way to get a brighter smile and shave years off of your looks.