Posted by: Alyssa Morris in Dental Care on April 16th, 2011

Teeth whitening treatments have been growing substantially in popularity over the past two decades, and are now the most popular dental procedure performed in America today. People can have these procedures performed at a the Dental office or can purchase over the counter products to help restore a brighter shade of white to their teeth at home. It is common for teeth to stain over time from exposure to a variety of foods and drinks such as coffee, wine, and tea; smoking can also increase discoloration.
There are a variety of teeth whitening options available depending on your budget, preferred location, and preferred delivery system. Most dentists offer teeth whitening procedures that can be performed in the office, and some that can be administered by the patient at home. The in-office laser procedure uses concea bleaching gel, which applied to the patient’s teeth. After the teeth have been exposed to the gel for a sufficient period of time, an ultra-frequency beam of light is used to complete the process. The procedure is then repeated depending on the desired results.

It is important to note that laser teeth whitening can have uncomfortable after-affects for those with highly sensitive teeth. Patients have reported aching of the teeth being a common symptom following the procedure. This discomfort is generally not severe and has not affected the frequency in which this treatment is performed across the country. Following the treatment, a dosage of ibuprofen can help dull the aching and sensitivity for most patients.

Following in-office laser treatment you may opt to follow through with the home whitening system provided by your dentist. These home whitening kits are generally regarded to be more effective than most over the counter treatments, and use a custom molded dental tray that fits to each patient’s teeth uniquely. For the at home whitening kit a mold is first taken of the teeth, then a custom tray created. This tray is usually manufactured someplace else and shipped to the dental office once completed. Once the trays are created the procedure is similar to the in-office treatment sans the laser treatment. The patient fills the tray with peroxide gel, and soaks the teeth over a period of time. Increasing the soak time can improve results, but also may increase sensitivity after the treatment is complete.

In addition to in-office procedures such as laser teeth whitening and tray bleaching, patients also can choose from a variety of over the counter teeth whitening products to use anywhere they choose. Many toothpaste manufacturers offer teeth whitening treatments in the oral hygiene section of the drug or grocery store. Teeth whitening strips are a popular option for many people; with this product the patient applies pre-treated strips over the top and bottom front sides of the teeth. The strips are left on for a period of time depending on the product specifications. Some strips are complete in 15 minutes, while other strips are left on over night.

With the wide range of teeth whitening options available today, there is a treatment for almost anyone who feels that they would like to have a whiter smile. Consider how much whitening you really need, your budget, and your time frame before deciding on which option is right for you. Make sure to consult your dentist if not selecting an over the counter teeth whitening option.