Are you looking for a way to feel more confident? Whitening your teeth is a great way to enhance your smile and give your self-esteem a boost.
Before you find yourself standing in a dental hygiene aisle overwhelmed with choices, there’s a lot to know about your options. It’s important to determine what method of whitening best fits your lifestyle, budget and needs. For example, are you someone who needs a little brightening or are you looking to erase 10 years of coffee stains?
To help you determine what method may be right for you, we’ve compiled the most common ways to whiten:
- Brightening Toothpaste
This method of whitening is typically the least costly. Most brightening toothpastes have the same plaque fighting power, with an added kick to remove surface stains. Brightening toothpaste is different than other methods in terms of the ingredients. It does not contain peroxide but does contain abrasive ingredients, such as silica. Be sure the toothpaste has the American Dental Association’s seal of approval.
Results can be seen after several weeks of use, but keep in mind that if you continue habits that could stain your teeth (drinking coffee, red wine or using tobacco products, etc.) you may undo results of the toothpaste.
- Whitening Rinses
Using a whitening rinse is another inexpensive option to brighten your smile. Most rinses have three main functions—to remove surface stains, to prevent surface stains and to freshen breath. Continued use of a whitening rinse is necessary for noticeable results.
- Whitening Strips
Whitening strips are one of the most common at-home methods for obtaining a whiter smile. The strips are coated with a peroxide-based whitening gel and are designed to work against lifestyle stains, such as those from coffee or wine. It is possible to notice some change after a few days, but it is likely that results will show after one to two weeks with consistent/recommended use.
- Mouth Trays
At-home whitening trays are different from the custom tray you would receive at a dentist office. Although at-home trays mold to your teeth, they are not custom fit for your mouth. Like the whitening strips, trays are coated with a peroxide-based gel. The application time for trays is usually longer with at-home trays than strips.
Tray kits usually have supplies for one week, with an upper and lower tray for each day.
An in-office whitening session is a fast, effective method, as the amount of peroxide in the treatment is higher. The method is performed by a dentist or dental hygienist, with the use of heat, special lights or lasers. Most treatments consist of one hour-long session. Though this may be more expensive than other options, it is supervised by a professional and considered to have the quickest results.
Important things to know
- Age regulations
There have been many studies on the effects of tooth whitening on children and teens, but there isn’t enough material to conclusively say it is safe for young teeth. Most whitening strips and trays are not intended for those under the age of 15. If you’re concerned with your child’s smile, consult your dentist. He or she may be able to provide safe, alternative options.
- Tooth sensitivity
It’s important to keep in mind the peroxide found in whitening products can lead to tooth sensitivity. Before you begin a whitening treatment of any kind, ask your dentist for product recommendations and best practices.
- Review your dental plan
Not all dental plans cover teeth whitening, so it’s important to check your dental benefits before visiting the dentist for a whitening treatment.
The information contained above is intended to be educational in nature, does not constitute medical advice, and should not be relied on as a substitute for actual professional medical advice, care or treatment. If you have any vision, dental or other health related concerns, VBA encourages you to immediately contact your optometrist/ophthalmologist, dentist/orthodontist or any other competent, licensed, medical professional.
VBA dental plans are administered and underwritten by TruAssure and are offered in association with the DenteMax Plus dental network arrangement, which includes participating dentists from the United Concordia, DenteMax and Connection dental networks in all states but North Carolina, where the DenteMax Plus network arrangement includes DenteMax and Connection dental networks.