White teeth are a desirable asset – they help a smile look youthful, healthy and attractive. There are many teeth bleaching products on the market, from gum and toothpaste that claim to whiten teeth to strips, pens and gels that you can use at home. There are also professional teeth bleaching services performed at a dentist’s office. Here is a quick look at some of the popular options for teeth whitening and the pros and cons of each.
- While many toothpastes come in whitening formulas, the amount of bleaching is minimal. These products can be used to remove light stains or to maintain white teeth, but they are usually not strong enough for teeth bleaching.
- Home Teeth Whitening Strips
- One of the easiest options in teeth whitening are the disposable strips. You can buy these strips in grocery and drug stores in the health and beauty isles where dental care products are sold. Most can be applied to teeth for about a half an hour a day for up to 14 days to achieve the desired whiteness.
- Pros. Strips are readily available and fairly inexpensive. They can be used at home and do not require any other items to perform.
- Cons. The level of whitening is limited, and it may not be even or cover all the teeth. Some people do not like wearing the strips for half an hour a day for a week or longer. There can be tooth sensitivity caused by using whitening strips.
- Teeth Bleaching Pens or Emulsions
- One of the newer options in teeth whitening are pens or emulsions that begin whitening immediately. These come in pens or with applicators that can be used on teeth anywhere and left on the teeth.
- Pros. The bleaching process starts instantly, giving you whiter teeth as soon as you apply it. No rinsing is needed and there is less sensitivity caused by this method versus strips.
- Cons. This is a new product and there have not been many studies done on the safety of using this teeth bleaching method over a long period of time. These may not provide the level of whitening that many people desire.
- Whitening Trays and Gels
- There are over-the-counter and dentist take-home kits that include whitening gel and dental trays for teeth whitening. These are effective and offer better coverage, while the strips only whiten the front teeth. The professional trays can be customized to the shape of your teeth for improved, even coverage.
- Pros. The trays can cover all the teeth and bleach both sides of the teeth for complete whitening. Professional-grade bleaching gel is available from dentists, and you can use periodically to maintain the desired shade of white.
- Cons. Wearing the trays can be cumbersome and uncomfortable for some people. It can take 7-14 days to achieve the desired bleaching level.
- For many years Zoom! was the go-to option for professional same-day teeth bleaching. This product is only available through a dentist and can provide deep whitening in about an hour. A whitening gel is placed on the teeth, and it is activated by a special light that is used on the teeth for 15-minute intervals until the desired whiteness is achieved.
- Pros. In less than an hour, you can have teeth that are several shades whiter. The bleaching is supervised by a dental professional for safety.
- Cons. Zoom! is more expensive than home products and some people can have tooth sensitivity. Zoom! does require ongoing treatments to keep teeth white.
- KöR® Deep Bleaching™
- An innovative approach to whitening, KöR® Deep Bleaching™ combines both in-office and at-home treatments for permanent teeth bleaching. This is designed for those who want deeply whiten teeth and also want to avoid stains in the future. There are both in-house treatments, at-home treatments and a combination of both.
- Pros. KöR® Deep Bleaching™ offers bleaching of both intrinsic and extrinsic stains for a deeper whitening of tough tooth discolorations. This method can whiten your teeth up to 16 shades, which is more than most other types of teeth whitening systems.
- Cons. This product is more expensive and can require more than one in-office session and at-home treatments, which may be more work than some people prefer.
There are also other professional teeth bleaching options available through dental practices. These are often similar to Zoom! and offer a quick solution for immediate whitening, but usually cost about $500 or more for the whitening session.
Teeth bleaching is one of the quickest ways to improve your smile. If your teeth are stained or look dull, teeth whitening can make your smile look whiter and brighter for a more youthful and attractive appearance. To ensure the whitening treatment you choose is safe for your teeth, talk to your dentist about the best way to achieve the whiter teeth you desire.