While the quickest way to a whiter smile is waiting for you at The Hills Dental Spa, you can take steps to get more dazzling pearly whites at home!
STRIPS – bought from your local drug store, two whitening strips are applied, one each to your top and bottom teeth. Each flexible plastic strip is coated with peroxide gel and whitens your teeth by keeping each in place for about 30 minutes to an hour. After 10 days of use, most people see obvious results. The cost starts at about $30 for a week-long program. The strips are easy to place and easy on sensitive teeth. Some people experience a bit of gum sensitivity from where the peroxide rests on the soft tissue of the gums. Only the front 6 or 8 teeth are whitened and the strips can be a bit goopy and hard to position. If you’re not sure if you want to spend money on bleaching, this is a good starting point. While many people do see results after 10 days of use, some don’t feel they see obvious whitening. Don’t let this discourage you…if you don’t whitening as much as you want with strips, other options may give you better results.
PAINT-ON GEL – easy to use, these paint-on gel whiteners use an applicator to coat your teeth with a peroxide solution that should be used twice a day, immediately after brushing. For best results, you’ll want to wait 30 minutes before you eat or drink. Pens are between $10 and $30 and typically yield 4 or 5 uses in each applicator. The thing to remember with these applicators is that once you paint on the whitening gel, you want to be especially careful not to lick your teeth and wait 30 minutes without eating or drinking anything. This method creates little to no sensitivity on the teeth and gums. We see the best results for clients who use the paint-on gel as a maintenance step after using stronger means of initial smile whitening. These are simple to apply and easy to carry.
TRAYS – over-the-counter mouthpieces fit with peroxide gel and fit over your top and bottom teeth. Typically these trays are worn 30 minutes per day for 10 to 14 days. The downside to the over-the-counter trays is that these are bulky and can be uncomfortable to wear. For some, this system can cause sensitivity to the teeth and gums. One benefit to the trays over the other drug store products is that all of the teeth can be whitened, even the molars. The price is about $40 and this is the best option for people who show lots of teeth when they smile.
CUSTOM-MADE TRAYS – trays custom-made from your dentist are thinner and more comfortable to wear. The gel you get from the dentist is stronger than what you can get from the drugstore. The results are quickest of any of the other at-home whitening systems. There is a risk of sensitivity, but remember that using less gel is better, because less oozes onto the gums, which reduced sensitivity.
WHITENING TIPS – your best whitening results will come if you whiten after having your teeth professionally cleaned by a dental hygienist. Your dentist can alert you to potential problems – cavities that may cause sensitivity, crowns or fillings that won’t bleach, or gum disease which can be painful. If your teeth are generally sensitive, consider switching to a toothpaste with potassium nitrate, such as Sensodyne. Use this for two weeks before you start bleaching, and continue use while you are going through the bleach system. If you have severe sensitivity, consult your dentist about possibly using a prescription fluoride gel at home to reduce your bleaching sensitivity.
Dr. Nemec offers a no-charge consultation to help patients decide which is the best whitening system to achieve the results you want. Call for your appointment at 512.347.0044