Looking your best has never been more important than it is today. From your professional countenance to your personal style, your look is of paramount importance. The center of your appearance is not geographical, it is your mouth. A healthy, bright smile conveys a lot about yourself to the world and you can probably improve your smile with tooth whitening.
Whitening is one of the most popular cosmetic procedures in dentistry today (as well as a multi-million business for over-the-counter strips and toothpaste). Here are a few factors:
- First, it is relatively inexpensive with a great cosmetic outcome.
- Second, it is non-invasive and does not involve any needles, drilling or any other things that are usually associated with dentist’s office.
- Third, it does not involve any toxic substances that might be potentially harmful to teeth or surrounding tissues.
These factors have made tooth whitening one of the most successful cosmetic procedures that ever happened in the history of dentistry. And, just like with any technology, there are several ways to whiten your teeth.
You can choose to utilize a take-home kit or have this procedure done in office.
The former is when a patient is given a custom made set of trays and gel. The trays are made from molds of your mouth and gel is placed in them. The patient then has the trays in their mouth for a couple of hours each evening for two weeks or so.
The latter does not involve any custom trays, but involves a much stronger concentration of gel that is applied straight to the teeth in the controlled environment of a dental office.
Each option has its own advantages and disadvantages.
- Though “take-home” whitening takes longer to undertake and involves everyday applications of the trays with gel for up to two weeks, it is our opinion that this system should be preferential. It produces much better and longer lasting results without potential danger of hyper sensitive teeth that sometimes result from the application of high concentration of peroxide gel as it is done in the course of an “in-office” whitening.
- Another advantage of “take-home” is that the whitening can be repeated over and over every three to six months for a touch up whenever patient may need one. Also, that touch-up does not involve an office visit or the extra cost of an office visit. The “take-home” additional cost is only for gel supplies. Sensitivity may still be the case with “take home” whitening but it is usually far milder and can be easily controlled by the patient while simply stopping the whitening for a day and then resuming it once sensitivity subsided.
Over the multiple years of utilizing both systems we have compiled the data that shows the “take-home” whitening produces much better and stable results with higher patient satisfaction.
However in-office whitening, with its higher concentration of peroxide, remains the treatment of choice whenever the result has to be achieved almost immediately. For instance an urgent whitening can be administered if one needs to attend a wedding next day or any other function whereas one does not have time to undergo slow and gradual approach of “take-home” whitening.
Based on our experience utilizing both systems (that is “take home” and “in office”) having them both available is most beneficial for patients, but their administration should be based on individual approach. Also one needs to know that existing crowns, veneers or other restorations cannot be affected by peroxide and therefore will not be changed by tooth whitening procedure.