Most of us would like a brighter smile. Our teeth are stained yellow by age, certain foods, drinks (coffee and red wine are the worst), and tobacco use. Some medications can also cause teeth to darken. In other words, it is nearly impossible to prevent your teeth from becoming stained, which means that many of us want to have our teeth whitened. Whitening uses bleach or peroxide to break up the stain and make the color lighter.

There are three ways to whiten your teeth.

1. Store-bought strips.

Whitening strips can be purchased from any drug store without a prescription. They are cost effective, easy to use, and generally work quickly. There are two kinds of strips. One kind has to be put on your teeth for about 30 minutes and then removed. The other kind dissolves. The treatment generally lasts fourteen days, with the strips being applied twice a day. There are some downsides to this approach.

First of all, some strips contain chlorine dioxide. Never use these strips as they will weaken your tooth enamel and increase your risk of cavities. Second, the strips will only effectively whiten your front teeth, not your molars. Also, over the counter products will generally not get your teeth as white as options you can get from your dentist. Whitening toothpaste, incidentally, do not really do much more to lighten your teeth than normal toothpaste. One set of the strips generally costs between $40 and $50, for the full fourteen-day treatment.

2. In-office whitening.

In-office whitening generally requires a single visit to the dentist. It consists of cleaning with pumice and then applying a whitening solution to the front surface of your teeth, followed by rinsing. Some solutions require a light to cure them.

The visit will take 30-60 minutes. For extremely stained teeth, more than one visit may be required. After the procedure, you should avoid foods and beverages with a lot of pigment and smoking for at least 24 hours. This is often the quickest way to get results, but is the most expensive option, running an average of $650 a visit. If you need your teeth to look good for a special occasion, though, an office visit is your best option. In-office bleaching is a one shot, so it is possible that the dentist may recommend follow up treatments.

3. Take home whitening.

This is not a good option if you are in a hurry, as it requires making custom trays which can take up to two weeks to make. However, it is cheaper than in-office whitening and much more effective than over the counter strips. The time requirement is about the same – an hour a day for fourteen days, although your dentist might recommend a shorter or longer period depending on the level of stain.

Trays generally cost about $400 per treatment and are a lot easier to use than strips, which might be mis-positioned or left on for the wrong time. Take home trays are particularly good for recalcitrant stains that require a lot of treatment and for people with sensitive gums, who may react to the bleach.

Teeth whitening is simple no matter which way you choose, but in-office treatments or custom take-home trays will give you much better results.

You should consider the option that is best for your schedule. For example, a single in-office visit may take up far less of your precious time than messing around with strips or trays once or twice a day.

For some people that might end up being the cheapest option. In-office visits are also good if you have a special occasion and want your teeth to be perfect for it. Take home trays are often the best option for long-term results. To find out more, contact Simply Beautiful today.