Should I go with a professional teeth whitening solution or use a home teeth whitening kit?
Surveys suggest that up to 65% of the adult population are not satisfied by the appearance of their teeth, with the No. 1 issue being tooth colour. It is therefore not surprising that when questioned a majority of adults report to having considered teeth whitening at some point, though only a fraction have undergone teeth whitening treatment. The common reasons cited are the cost of professional treatment and concerns about the safety of such teeth whitening products.
Before considering the various tooth whitening options it is important to draw a distinction between the 2 types of discolouration;
- Extrinsic – this refers to stains present on the outer surface of the tooth. Commonly caused by tea, coffee and red wine, these stains tend to be brownish in colour.
- Intrinsic – these stains are present inside the tooth and often result from exposure to too much fluoride in childhood, certain medications (e.g. tetracycline), as well as the natural ageing process. These types of stains tend to be grey or yellowish brown in colour.
Professional Teeth Whitening
Teeth whitening treatments offered by cosmetic dentists use concentrated peroxide based gel to literally bleach the teeth white. This can be carried out as a single in-surgery treatment lasting about an hour, home treatment using trays and gel provided by the dentist or a combination of the two. These treatments will deliver dramatic and immediate results against both extrinsic and intrinsic stains, though due to the intense nature of the treatment patients can experience short term sensitivity as a result. Typical costs range between £250-£500 a treatment.
Home Teeth Whitening
For those seeking a more subtle and gradual improvement in colour there are a number of over-the-counter products
We all want whiter teeth but how do you get that celebrity look without damaging your teeth?
- Brush and floss twice a day. Foods and drinks such as coffee, tea, fizzy drinks, soy sauce and curry all stain your teeth. Brushing and flossing removes much of the food and drink remnants that stain your teeth.
- Eat lots of crunchy fruit and vegetables. Dr. Arthur Glosman, a cosmetic dentist in Beverly Hills, describes them as “nature’s toothbrushes (a).” Crunchy foods such as apples and carrots help to remove stains from your teeth.
- Visit your dentist regularly. This is a good idea regardless, but a dentist can give your teeth a good polish, brilliant for a quick fix if you are trying to impress. Alternatively you can see a cosmetic dentist who uses a specialised gel to bleach your teeth. This is more effective but can be very expensive.
- Did you know that most of the products you use everyday come in whitening versions. Be it toothbrushes, toothpaste, or mouthwash.
- Use home whitening kits for a cheaper alternative than going to a cosmetic dentist. These involve mouth guards that are similar to the ones you might have used during contact sport. You mould the guard to your mouth, then apply a whitening gel to the guard and place the guard in your mouth. To read more about home whitening kits, have a look at this article (Teeth Whitening Home Kits Explained).
- Avoid food and drinks that can stain your teeth, see above for examples. Also avoid acidic foods such as citrus fruits, wine and chocolate. Using a straw can limit your teeth’s exposure to staining drinks.
- Be careful when whitening teeth that have had work on them. Materials used in filings cannot be whitened and using a whitening product on these teeth may result in uneven whitening. Teeth whitening should only be used on live teeth and so is not appropriate