A Tooth Whitening Shopping Guide

woman sitting in grass smilingIf your pearly whites, well, aren’t–blame it on caffeine, candy, prescription drugs or aging, all of which dull the
gleam. You might want to whiten your teeth more than is possible through regular brushing, flossing, and dental checkups.Whiten and brighten dingy teeth with high-tech treatments in your dentist’s office or over-the-counter bleaches you use at home. Here are your options:

Chair -side bleaching or “power bleaching.”

In your dentist’s office, bleach is put on your teeth. A special light or a laser may be used to help the bleach work better. Ask your dentist if the bleaching agents have the seal of acceptance of the American Dental Association (ADA).

Professionally dispensed bleaching solutions.

You get these peroxide products from your dentist, but you use them at home. The solution is placed in a mouth guard or tray that fits inside your mouth around your teeth. You can brighten your teeth by about six shades, with long-lasting results.

Over-the-counter, TV, and Internet products.

These whitening strips, paint-on products, and gels have a small amount of peroxide. They have limited results if you use them before you have a professional remove stains, but they can help prolong the results if you get this treatment earlier. You can brighten your teeth by about two shades for up to six months. None of the gel and tray treatments are accepted by the ADA.

Whitening toothpastes.

All toothpastes help remove surface staining of your teeth through their mild abrasives. “Whitening” toothpastes with the ADA seal have special polishing agents that remove even more stains. Unlike bleaches, these products do not change the actual color of your teeth. They help with slight surface stains only. You get temporary brightening of perhaps one to two shades.

Still confused? Talk to your dentist — he or she can help you select the best method for your teeth and your budget.

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