If you have yellow teeth, stains on your teeth or are not happy about the appearance of your teeth, getting a teeth whitening or bleaching treatment is a great way to restore them to their original appearance. However, you should find out more about the procedures before deciding on which is best for you.
Differences between teeth whitening and teeth bleaching
According to the American Dental Association, teeth whitening is the process of restoring your teeth to their natural color by removing the stains on the surface of your teeth, using whitening agents that are found in toothpaste and mouthwash.
Teeth bleaching is the process of whitening your teeth to the extent that they become whiter than they originally were, using bleaching agents like hydrogen peroxide.
Even though the terms are often used interchangeably, it is important to know the difference because it will help you make a well-informed decision if you are interested in improving the appearance of your teeth.
Teeth whitening options
Going to the dentist
If you are interested in getting your teeth whitened, you can either get it done at your dentist’s office or from the comfort of your home. If you are looking for the best result, getting your teeth whitened by a dentist is your best option because your dentist uses a higher concentration of the whitening agent than what is available in the home kits, and completes the process in one visit.
The effects of the teeth whitening also last longer when you get it done at the dentist.
Home whitening kits
Using an at-home teeth whitening kit takes a little longer before you start to see results because the whitening agent is diluted and it has to be applied on your teeth on a daily basis for up to a few weeks. Take home kits are convenient to use and are cheaper than a trip to the dentist, but the effects usually do not last more than six months.
Teeth bleaching options
If you want to whiten your teeth beyond their natural appearance, your best option is to get it done at the dentist's office, especially if you have damaged or traumatized teeth. Using an at-home teeth bleaching kit will not help you achieve the desired results because the color of the damaged tooth will not match the rest of your teeth after you apply the bleaching agent, costing you time and money.
In this case, going to your dentist to get your teeth bleached is recommended because the dentist can get the damaged tooth to match the color of your other teeth by applying the bleaching agent inside the tooth, which you cannot do with an at-home kit.
Even if you do not have a damaged tooth, going to the dentist is still the better option, especially if you want fast results. The bleaching agent used by dentists contains 15 to 43 percent of carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide, the active bleaching ingredients, while the at-home kits have anywhere from three percent to 20 percent of the ingredients.
The bottom line
Getting your teeth whitened or bleached is a great way to improve your smile. If you are not sure which option is right for you, talk to your dentist to find out more about the procedures.
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