When it comes to teeth whitening, everyone seems to be doing it! It is one of the most popular cosmetic dentistry procedures on the market today. At the same time, there are a variety of solutions available. You can go to the dentist and get a professional whitening treatment, or you can buy a home-use bleaching kit at your local drugstore. In this blog post, we will compare and contrast the various options and help you decide which is the best choice for you.

First of all, what is the difference between bleaching and whitening teeth? Well, technically speaking, “whitening” refers to removing surface stains from teeth. Sometimes this can be done with toothpaste or whitening strips that use abrasives or chemicals to break up the bonds between the stain molecules and the tooth enamel. “Bleaching,” on the other hand, actually changes the color of your teeth by penetrating the tooth enamel and breaking up the pigment molecules. Professional bleaching treatments allow your teeth to be whiter than they are naturally.

A dentist uses powerful and fast-acting hydrogen peroxide to bleach your teeth in a single one-hour session, or throughout several visits. The concentration of hydrogen peroxide is much higher in professional bleaching treatments (up to 40 percent) than what you’ll find in home-use bleaching kits (between three and eight percent). Home-use bleaching kits typically use carbamide peroxide gel with a concentration between three and eight percent.

Why does tooth discoloration occur in the first place? 

There are many reasons why teeth may become discolored. Some of the more common causes include aging, drinking coffee, tea, or red wine, smoking cigarettes or using other tobacco products, certain medications, and poor dental hygiene.

Intrinsic stains are those that form on the inside of teeth, in the dentin. These are usually the result of aging, trauma, exposure to certain minerals, or taking certain medications (tetracycline antibiotics).

Extrinsic stains are those that form on the outside of teeth, in the enamel. These are usually caused by drinking coffee, tea, soda, or red wine; smoking cigarettes; or eating certain foods like blueberries and soy sauce. While you may be able to remove extrinsic stains with at-home bleaching kits, intrinsic stains usually require more professional treatment.

So which option is best for you? 

While some over-the-counter teeth whitening products may give you results, they will likely not be as dramatic or long-lasting as those you’ll get from a professional. And if you have sensitive teeth, gums, or if you wear crowns/veneers, it’s always best to check with your dentist before using any at-home bleaching kit.

While home-use bleaching kits may be less expensive than professional treatments, they require a greater time commitment and patience to achieve desired results. Most importantly, individuals must take extra care to avoid gum irritation and tooth sensitivity, which can occur if the bleaching agents come into contact with the gums or are left on the teeth for too long.

If you’re considering whitening your teeth, talk to your dentist about which solution is right for you. Professional teeth whitening is safe, effective, and non-invasive. 

If you find that professional teeth whitening is too much for your budget, you can achieve long-lasting results by combining at-home and professional teeth whitening treatments. You can start with an at-home kit to get your teeth looking their best and then touch up with professional treatments as needed. However, each situation is unique, so ask your dentist!

I am Dr. Onatsky. I am here to help you obtain and maintain that beautiful healthy smile. Call today to schedule an appointment: 718-621-0827. Onatsky Dental Clinic is located at 2960 Ocean Ave 1st Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11235. Stay well. 

Do you have any favorite tips for keeping your smile looking its best? Share them in the comments below!