Understanding The Three Common Forms Of At-Home Teeth Whitening

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If you want to whiten your teeth, you can either do it at your dentist's office or rely on at-home treatments. Here are the three common techniques for at-home whitening:

Tray Whitening

This is one of the oldest at-home teeth whitening methods. In this case, you take bleaching trays that fits over your upper and lower teeth and place whitening gels on them. You then fit the trays over your teeth and leave them in place for the recommended duration (typically several hours per day). In most cases, you have to repeat the treatment over the course of days or weeks for maximum effectiveness.

This whitening method is simple, safe, and inexpensive. You can either get the materials (whitening gel and custom trays) from your dentist or buy them over the counter. The advantage of buying the whitening materials from the dentist is that they can advise you, based on their training and experience, on the best practices of using the materials.

Whitening Strips

Teeth whitening strips are thin flexible pieces of plastic coated on one side with hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide is the main ingredient contained in teeth whitening products; it's the actual chemical that facilitates the bleaching. The main advantages of this method are that it controls the amount of whitener you are exposed to precisely, it is simple to execute, and it minimizes soft tissue exposure to the whitener.

What you do is place the strips over your teeth, press them into place, and leave them in place for the recommended time (typically thirty minutes) before peeling them off. Again, you usually have to repeat the treatments over the course of several days. The exact duration and number of treatments depend mainly on the concentration of the bleaching product used.

Paint-On Whiteners

Paint-on whitening is executed by the use of whitening pens or small brushes whose "paint" or "color" is actually the bleaching agent (peroxide). In this case, you just paint the surfaces of the teeth you wish to bleach with the pen/brush and let it solidify into place. After some time, the painted film dissolves and washes away by itself. It's advisable to brush or rinse your teeth thoroughly afterward to get rid of any leftover bleaching agent.

Paint-on whitening is inexpensive and can be used to whiten individual teeth. However, the whitening film sometimes washes away prematurely, and it is also easy to miss some teeth surfaces during the application.

Ideally, it's best to consult your dentist first before taking either route. In some cases, it's best to start with a whitening session at the dentist and then follow it up with home whitening sessions. For more information, contact a local dental clinic like Ramtown Dental Associates