Do you ever find yourself smiling in the mirror and just wishing your teeth were a little bit (or a lot) whiter? Have you ever seen photographs of models or celebrities that seem to have impossibly white teeth and wonder how they do it? Well the truth is that while some of these photographs are most definitely digitally enhanced, many individuals have achieved whiter, brighter teeth and smiles through professional teeth whitening treatments. This may lead inevitably to the question of whether one could obtain the same, or at least similar, results with at-home teeth whitening strips.
Professional teeth whitening treatments can successfully remove built-up stains that are caused by coffee, tea, tobacco, red wine and other dark-pigmented foods and beverages. To their credit, teeth whitening strips may also be able to achieve some desirable results in this department. However, they are not usually as effective at removing built-up stains as professional whitening treatments. Where they excel is in helping one to maintain the white teeth they gain through a professional teeth whitening treatment. Individuals who receive at least one professional teeth whitening treatment a year often discover that teeth whitening strips work excellently at maintaining their pearly white teeth. That said, there can be some downsides to using teeth whitening strips.
One of the downsides to using teeth whitening strips is that they must be applied frequently since their effects tend to wear off fairly quickly. Also, one must be careful not to overuse their teeth whitening strips as this can lead to undesirable results, including tooth sensitivity. To that end, here is some advice to follow when considering teeth whitening strips:
- Talk to your dentist about teeth whitening strips, especially if you have just received a professional teeth whitening treatment or if you have experienced recent or chronic oral health issues. Your dentist will want to take a look at your teeth and consider whether they can actually handle teeth whitening strips, or whether professional teeth whitening treatments are the better way to go. They will also make sure that you don’t have any cavities or decay that will need to be handled prior to any sort of whitening treatment.
- Educate yourself about the risks involved in using teeth whitening strips–if you already have sensitive teeth and one of the risks is increased tooth sensitivity, you may choose not to pursue this option at all.
- Recognize that teeth whitening does not work on dental bonding or tooth-colored fillings. This might mean that following the use of teeth whitening strips, you could potentially have areas of your mouth that are clearly different shades of white.
There are some cases where teeth are just too stained to respond at all to teeth whitening strips. Where this is the case, your dentist will recommend professional teeth whitening treatments where prudent or perhaps even dental veneers where this is best. With professional teeth whitening treatments, your dentist will apply a highly concentrated hydrogen peroxide solution to your teeth. Then, she will apply an intense light that activates the bleach so that it can efficiently work to erase stains. The entire procedure normally takes about ninety minutes, and results are noticed immediately afterwards.
In the case that you don’t feel you have the time for professional teeth whitening treatments, you may be able to receive a bleaching tray from your dentist instead. Your dentist will instruct you on how to use this bleaching tray to achieve the best results–which includes not over-bleaching your teeth. Unfortunately, while this treatment allows you to avoid ninety minutes in the dentist’s chair, it is also not quite as effective as in-office bleaching treatments.
For more information about teeth whitening treatments and strips, contact your dentist, Dr. Best, today.