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 that are intended for use at home. For removal of surface stains it is recommended to use an electric toothbrush with a whitening head or a stand-alone tooth polisher (Superwhite), in conjunction with a specialist whitening toothpaste. These toothpastes contain tiny micro-polishing granules to scrub away stubborn stains and are safe to be used as a daily toothpaste.

For intrinsic stains below the surface the only option is to use a bleaching agent. Home teeth whitening kits such as the Yotuel 7hr contain much lower concentrations of peroxide than those used by dentists and applied for 1 hr a day for a week provide a more gradual improvement in colour without causing any sensitivity. These types of kits are ideal for both first time whitening as well as those looking to ‘top-up’ or maintain the benefits of in surgery whitening. For further information take a look at:

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