Are you considering whitening your teeth? DIY kits are readily available on the supermarket shelves, but it is worth equipping yourself with all of the information before you start attempting to whitening your teeth yourself at home.
How Does Teeth Whitening Work?
No matter which option you choose, both will contain peroxide-based bleaching agents. At-home products contain between 3 and 20 percent carbamide (also known as Urea) or hydrogen peroxides while professional treatment systems contain 15 to 43 percent peroxide! This means teeth whitening at the dentist usually works much faster than teeth whitening at-home.
As a general rule, if you keep a strong solution of peroxide on your teeth, your teeth will become whiter. Higher percentages of the whitening solution can be applied to the teeth for a shorter period of time to get good results. If you keep the tooth whitening gel on your teeth too long, it will dehydrate the teeth, increasing tooth sensitivity. A lot of patients fail to see results from at-home kits and they may be tempted to leave the whitening solution on the teeth too long. This can have unfortunate results in terms of dental problems along with less-than-wonderful aesthetic outcomes as well (and it can become very costly to fix)!
Is Teeth Whitening Safe?
It makes logical sense that teeth whitening that’s done at home is not as safe as a treatment done in a clinic by a professional. At-home treatments are essentially DIY and so, as with all DIY projects, it carries risk (because patients rarely understand fully what they’re doing or how the treatment works and therefore can easily do damage to their teeth).
At the dentist, when you get your teeth whitened, you also will have your teeth and gums cleaned so that plaque and tartar are removed and any cavities are filled. So, one of the advantages of professional teeth whitening is that the dentist will check your teeth and make sure they’re healthy and ready for the treatment. And the treatment itself won’t hurt the teeth because a professional knows how to avoid causing damage while still getting results that are dramatic and long-lasting.
Patients who have specific teeth with noticeable stains that they’d like to have removed should carefully consider going to a professional to ensure that these stains are addressed with care and that the final results repair the problem fully. As well as teeth whitening, you may need to have your teeth de-scaled by the dental hygienist, which as well as improving the whitening of your teeth, can also help prevent gum disease and bad breath. With an at-home kit patients run the risk of making the problem appear worse rather than better. But professional teeth whitening systems are designed to address these types of issues.
And finally, professional teeth whitening leaves all the responsibility in the hands of the dentist which means that, as the patient, you can sit back and relax during the procedure. At the end of your appointment, you’ll leave the office with bright, pearly whites. At-home treatments, on the other hand, could yield results that are less-than-perfect or even worse-than-before-the-treatment. When poor results happen, in-office treatment has to be aimed at fixing two problems instead of just one (stained teeth). So, if you’re not sure whether at-home or in-office treatments are right for you it might be best to err on the safe side and see a dentist for professional treatment to ensure excellent results.
Is It More Expensive At The Dentist?
Typically the cost of professional teeth whitening is more than the cost of at-home treatment, but the final results demonstrate that you get what you pay for and it tends to last longer. Also bear in mind that if something does go wrong if you are visiting the dentist, they will fix it. If you opt for a DIY solution, it could be much more costly in the longterm should anything go wrong.
How Long Does It Take?
We use specialised techniques across our practices, meaning that generally you only require 1-2 visits. Your dentist will check your teeth and discuss the sort of results you are aiming to achieve (i.e. Hollywood white or naturally brighter). You will then be fitted for your retainer, which you can collect generally within a couple of weeks. Generally you will see results straight away, though we do provide whitening strips and toothpaste to help keep your smile gleaming for longer!
Speak to your Dentist!
Before you decide whether to do at-home or professional, in-office teeth whitening, we would highly recommend that you talk to your dentist about the pros and cons of both.
Contact us for more information about our services in Darlington, Thornaby and Easington.