What Options Do You Have For Teeth Whitening? Dr. Baruffi Explains

With so many teeth whitening products on the market, how do you know which one best meets your needs? We asked Dr. Baruffi and Southcenter Dental to explain the available options.

Toothpaste: While all toothpastes include mild abrasives that work on surface stains, "whitening" toothpastes contain additional chemical or polishing agents to address surface stains more powerfully. While this may do the trick for very mild discoloration, toothpaste is not capable of changing the actual color of your teeth. (Remember: when choosing toothpaste, be sure to look for the ADA Seal of Acceptance.)

At-home Whitening (over-the-counter): Increased interest in tooth whitening has led to a surge in over-the-counter (OTC) products. The active ingredient in most whitening systems is either carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide (the same chemical used to bleach hair). These bleaching agents chemically break apart the stains on your enamel. Most products recommend a two-week process that involves either overnight or twice-daily application.

When considering an OTC product, give us a call, and we can help guide your decision, based on your specific needs. Also, keep your eyes open for that ADA Seal while you're shopping.

At-home Whitening (doctor-dispensed): We offer at-home whitening kits as well, and these work in a similar way to OTC products. One advantage of our system is that we can provide you with custom-fitted mouth trays created specifically for your teeth. This cuts down on your chance of experiencing gum or tissue sensitivity from exposure to the whitening product. Also, we can recommend the best system for you and supervise your at-home experience, making adjustments if necessary.

In-office Whitening: The quickest, most effective way to achieve whiter teeth is though an in-office whitening system – sometimes called "power-bleaching." As dental professionals, we can utilize higher percentages of peroxide that at-home systems allow. Thus, you can expect a more dramatic whitening effect in a much shorter time period.

The procedure is simple: first, we thoroughly clean your teeth. Next, we cover your gums to avoid sensitivity. Finally, we carefully apply a whitening gel to your teeth and then cure it with a special light. We repeat this process while you relax and listen to music.

Most patients find that this easy in-office whitening provides the sparkling smile they've been missing. However, if your teeth are especially discolored, we may set up a second appointment for you at Southcenter Dental.

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