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What is Teeth Whitening? Where Can I Do This?

By June 22, 2022Orthodontics

It’s not uncommon for anyone, in their search to get their best smile possible, to turn to teeth whitening treatments at some point in their life. Although in-office treatments have better results, it’s completely normal to look for more economic solutions. So whether you decide to go to your dentist’s office or have treatment at home here are a few whitening options for you. 

At-Home Teeth Whitening Options

Whitening your teeth at home can be a great option if you are looking to save money and don’t want to deal with having to go to appointments every few days while your whitening treatment lasts. Fortunately, now-a-day there is a great variety of fast, easy-to-use, products that you can try to whiten your teeth.

Remember that the results of at-home teeth whitening products will not be as good as in-office ones and won’t last that long either.

Whitening Strips and Gels

Whitening strips and gels work with a solution based on peroxide, which is the chemical that will whiten your teeth. Patients will apply the strips or the gel to their teeth and let them absorb the gel for a few minutes. This process will go on for a couple of weeks but you will start seeing some progress after just a few days. Results from this treatment can last up to four months. It is important to remember that any product with whitening agents can cause some sensitivity to your teeth.

Whitening Toothpaste

Regular toothpaste by itself will mostly only eliminate stains at a surface level given that most of them don’t have the whitening agent in them. Although some kinds of toothpaste are able to whiten your entire tooth, because those do contain some type of peroxide in them, the whitening agent itself can’t do too much work as it doesn’t have enough time to act. Even considering that results aren’t as noticeable as an in-office treatment, toothpaste whitening is a good option for those who want to avoid any possible teeth sensitivity.

Whitening Trays

As the name implies, patients place trays with whitening gel applied to them on their teeth for a few hours at a time. The amount of time per day and how many days a week someone may use it will depend on the result desired and on your teeth’s reaction to the peroxide in the gel. Whitening trays can cause some irritation in the gums or sensitivity on the teeth so be careful to not overdo it. 

In-Office Teeth Whitening Options

In-office teeth whitening is the fastest way to see actual whiter teeth in as little as 1 session. In-office treatments use a much higher concentration of peroxide in their solutions used to whiten your teeth and they usually have other tools at their disposals like UV lights. The combination of both of these and multiple 30 to 60-minute visits is what gets you a much better result, although you can see a big difference since your first session. According to WebMD, in-office treatments can whiten your teeth for up to 8 shades.

Can You Whiten Your Teeth if You Have Tooth Sensitivity?

If you are sensitive in your teeth or gums or have any type of irritation in your mouth, the best thing to do is to ask your dentist first, this goes for both in-office and at-home treatments. If you’re already using any type of whitening method at home and feel strong discomfort or pain stop using the product immediately. For discomfort during in-office procedures just keep your dental care specialist informed about it.

Can You Use Teeth Whitening With Braces

Every dentist will usually recommend you to start any teeth whitening procedure after your braces treatment is over. If you try to use any whitening product with braces you could end up with two different shades of color on the same teeth due to the brackets blocking an important area of each tooth. Another reason to avoid this kind of treatment while you have braces is the possibility of sensitive teeth given that the last thing any patient would want is another source of discomfort in their mouth.

On the other hand, lingual and removable aligners don’t cover the front area of the teeth so you can have whitening treatments done if you are going under treatment with them. 

How to Keep Your Teeth White During Orthodontics

Keeping your teeth white during any orthodontic treatment is not as hard as it may appear.  The most important thing to do is to maintain a good cleaning schedule. Brush your teeth at least two times a day, floss after every meal, and use mouthwash and toothpaste that have fluoride in them. Appliances do make the cleaning process harder but there are a variety of tools to help you get to the most difficult places such as floss threaders and floss hooks.

Avoid dark-colored drinks and food that may stain your teeth. Coffee, tea, red wine, and sodas can all change the color of your teeth if consumed on a regular basis.

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