Types of Teeth Whitening Procedures

There are a few teeth whitening procedures available that correct discoloration of the teeth by removing the brown and yellow staining. While each work effectively, there are advantages and disadvantages to each procedure dependent upon your objectives and commitment to the processes. The type of procedures available should be discussed with your cosmetic dentist, and a they will recommend the most appropriate teeth whitening procedure for you.

BRITESMILE TEETH WHITENING (In-Office)

Using a specail light with a whitening gel, this is an in-office bleaching system. It is often followed up with an at-home bleaching kit if needed.

The translucent bleaching gel is applied to the teeth and a specail activating light source is used to activate the crystals to absorb the energy from the light and penetrate the teeth enamel to increase the lightening effect on the teeth. The length of time in the cosmetic dentist's chair depends on the degree of discoloration you have, but two hours is common.

Advantage: One visit is usually all it takes for a bright smile. The tooth whitening treatment typically costs $600. 

Disadvantage: The sudden change of color is likely to be noticed by those around you immediately.

LASER BLEACHING (In-Office)

Using a laser with a whitening gel, this is an in-office bleaching system.

The translucent bleaching gel is applied to the teeth and a laser light is used to activate the crystals to absorb the energy from the light and penetrate the teeth enamel to increase the lightening effect on the teeth. The length of time in the cosmetic dentist's chair depends on the degree of discoloration you have.

Advantage: One visit is usually all it takes for a bright smile.

Disadvantage: The sudden change of color is likely to be noticed by those around you immediately. This is the more expensive of the procedures available, but also the quickest.

LASER BLEACHING (In-Office)

Using a laser with a whitening gel, this is an in-office bleaching system.

The translucent bleaching gel is applied to the teeth and a laser light is used to activate the crystals to absorb the energy from the light and penetrate the teeth enamel to increase the lightening effect on the teeth. The length of time in the cosmetic dentist's chair depends on the degree of discoloration you have.

Advantage: One visit is usually all it takes for a bright smile.

Disadvantage: The sudden change of color is likely to be noticed by those around you immediately. This is the more expensive of the procedures available, but also the quickest.

CUSTOM FIT TRAY BLEACHING (In-Home)

A custom fitted tray is worn over your teeth. A small amount of the bleaching gel is placed in the tray and worn for a brief amount of time each day. This is a common technique because it's easy to use and costs less. Impressions are taken of your mouth and a thin custom made plastic tray is made which you take home and wear for about one to two hours per day. While some results may be seen in a couple days, it usually takes one to two weeks to see the full whitening of your teeth. This procedure is sometimes used in conjunction with the in-office laser bleaching if you have severe discoloration (dark grey or purple) or internal teeth staining.

Advantage: A gradual whitening of your teeth over time will be less noticeable to others that you're undergoing this procedure. The cost is relatively low.

Disadvantages: This procedure will require two to four visits to the cosmetic dentists office.

STORE-BOUGHT WHITENING STRIPS (In-Home)

A whitening strip is fitted over your upper and lower teeth. You'll wear them for a half hour to one hour once a day depending on the brand. This is the most common technique because it's easy to use and costs less. The strips are comfortable and have no trouble staying in place. Speaking is slightly awkward while wearing them. While some results may be seen in a couple days, it usually takes one week for the faster strips to one month for the slower systems for you to see the full whitening of your teeth. This procedure is sometimes used in conjunction with the in-office laser bleaching if you have severe discoloration (dark grey or purple) or internal teeth staining.

Advantage: You can whiten your teeth as fast or slow depending on which system you select. Some whiten in as little as seven days. Usually you only wear the strips for a half hour at a time. Some even dissolve. The cost is relatively low compared to other methods. Also a good solution for "touch-ups" when needed.

Disadvantages: This procedure may not be as powerful as other procedures which require visits to the cosmetic dentists office.

IN-MALL WHITENING STORES OR STANDS (In-Store)

This is a newer whitening option but is basically the same as the in-home kits. A custom fitted tray or strips are worn over your teeth. While some results may be seen right away, it is usually recommended that you return to the treatment center weekly to achieve the full whitening of your teeth.

Advantage: You will likely see immediate results after the first visit. If you are uncomfortable using the at-home whitening kits or strips, this may make you feel more assured.

Disadvantages: This teeth whitening option isn't much different than the at-home strips and tray systems and costs more. It also requires regular trips to the treatment center. The materials used are not necessarily up to dental professional standards. 

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  1. Introduction to teeth whitening section
  2. How white can your teeth become?
  3. What causes your teeth to become discolored?
  4. Procedure description: Teeth whitening
  5. Typical cost of teeth whitening procedures
  6. Types of teeth whitening available
  7. The tray bleaching procedure to whiten your teeth
  8. How much does tray teeth bleaching cost?
  9. Laser teeth whitening
  10. How much does laser teeth whitening cost?
  11. Pros & cons of whitening your teeth
  12. Before and after photos - teeth whitening
  13. Personal experiences of teeth whitening patients
  14. Discuss teeth whitening in our discussion area

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 A guide to Teeth whitening and teeth bleaching treatments for stained teeth.