Whitening teeth has become the norm for many adults. Extrinsic stains, meaning surface stains, such as coffee, tea, red wine and tomato based sauces, even blueberries and blackberries appear as stain on the outer layer of your teeth.

These days there are many choices for whitening. There are a wide variety of products from over the counter pens, strips and kits to custom trays and in office whitening in less than two hours. Let us look at the choices you have and what to expect.

The over the counter pen or small tube applied directly to the teeth is best used for keeping previous whitening freshened and has limited results. Almost all whiteners are peroxide based and have varying potency. The exception is toothpaste, which actually has added abrasives, to try to eliminate stain.

Whitening strips can have success if you have healthy teeth and no gum disease and they are to be used on a regular basis. You do have to remember the strips are rectangular and your teeth are not. Being careful with placement to avoid your gum tissue is always important.

Many over the counter kits are available and vary widely in price. Someone who has healthy teeth and gums and limited crowns, specifically anterior crowns or veneers, as they will not change color and you could wind up with significant mismatch. Most now have a unit that has LED lights and are practiced for a set amount of time, many ten to 15 minutes and most over the course of several days or a few weeks and then touch ups as necessary. These are “one size (hopefully) fits you” and you have to be careful to make sure you are evenly applying the gel to get good results. Even with healthy teeth and tissue, sensitivity and gum damage is possible.

If you are looking for a higher potency of bleach agent, your dentist office likely has additional choices. Impressions or computer scans are used to create custom trays that are a replica of your mouth and provide a fit that limits any gel escaping and allows for even bleaching. The potency of bleach is higher than any OTC product. Generally used initially for two weeks and then a touch up as wanted.

The most potent and fastest choice is an in office procedure that takes less than two hours and provides instant results, some up to seven shades lighter.

This procedure involves a barrier applied and the material brushed on to each individual tooth. Up to four sessions of 15 minutes each are done and in between each session, new material is applied. The patient is also instructed to wait a full 24 hours before having coffee, tea, cola, red sauces or any staining foods to allow for the best results. There can be sensitivity, as with any of the other products, but a soothing gel can be applied.

If you have interest in any of these procedures, please call us at 303.773.3373 and set up a complimentary consultation to evaluate what best suits your needs and wants.