White teeth can increase your overall attractiveness and boost your sense of confidence. But many of our favorite foods and drinks stain teeth over time.
For that reason, many people decide to invest in a teeth whitening service. But how effective are these treatments?
This guide will explore whether teeth whitening services really work, helping you decide whether to schedule a whitening session with your dentist.
Factors That Influence Teeth Whitening
The effectiveness of any given teeth whitening service depends on several crucial factors. Some of the most significant factors that impact teeth whitening treatments include:
- Current coloration
- Lifestyle choices
- Treatment type
- Patient age
If you’re considering investing in a teeth whitening service, be sure to consider these aspects before scheduling a treatment session. Doing so can prevent post-treatment frustrations and prepare you to discuss whitening options with your dentist.
Your existing teeth coloration is one of the most significant factors impacting a teeth whitening treatment’s effectiveness. After all, teeth whitening treatments lighten enamel by a few shades, but they cannot turn heavily stained teeth into pearly whites in just one treatment.
The more stained your teeth currently are, the more treatments you’ll need to reach a brilliant white luster. As such, a single whitening procedure might seem less effective for those with significant staining.
Your lifestyle choices can also impact the effectiveness of a teeth whitening procedure. After all, coffee, tea, and wine can discolor teeth over time, resulting in much-needed cosmetic dentistry services.
But dietary habits aren’t the only lifestyle choices you’ll need to consider. For example, tobacco products are also well-known for staining teeth.
Nicotine can leave unsightly yellow stains on the surfaces of your teeth. In addition, prolonged tobacco use can lead to set-on chunks of tar. So if you’re a smoker, you’ll want to consider quitting as soon as possible.
Teeth whitening treatment type also impacts effectiveness. For example, most individuals choose to invest in:
- Professional teeth whitening services, or
- At-home teeth whitening kits
The better option depends on your preferences and expectations. That said, professional treatment can provide higher-quality results and tends to be far more convenient than attempting at-home solutions.
Professional Teeth Whitening
The majority of professional teeth whitening treatments utilize a hydrogen peroxide gel. However, the percentage of hydrogen peroxide varies depending on the intensity of the treatment and the dentist’s recommendations.
Dentists coat tooth surfaces in this gel, ensuring that each tooth is entirely covered. They then use a specialized lamp to heat and activate the gel.
As the hydrogen peroxide gel activates, it penetrates the outer enamel of the teeth, bleaching them to their dentin underlayer. This process leaves teeth looking bright, luminous, and clean.
The amount of shade improvement depends on a patient’s existing teeth coloration and the treatment duration. Longer whitening sessions tend to provide the most exceptional and noticeable results.
However, professional teeth whitening services are unsuitable for pregnant or lactating patients. They’re also not recommended for individuals aged 13 or younger.
Teeth Whitening Kits
At-home teeth whitening kits are readily available from grocery stores, department stores, and pharmacies. Though there are dozens (potentially hundreds) of different brands, most teeth whitening kits feature a similar set of components.
For example, a standard at-home teeth whitening kit contains:
- Whitening pens
- A hydrogen peroxide gel
- An LED mouthpiece
Using these kits is similar to receiving a professional teeth whitening treatment. The primary differences are the percentage of hydrogen peroxide in the included gel and the convenience of having someone else apply the whitening agent.
Additionally, some at-home kits don’t come with an LED mouthpiece tray. For example, teeth whitening strips feature a pre-distributed layer of hydrogen peroxide gel but aren’t typically sold with specialized tooth lamps.
Due to safety concerns, most at-home kits feature gels that contain 20% hydrogen peroxide or less. As such, they may be less effective than professional treatments.
Did you know that tooth enamel tends to wear away as we age? This natural process can reveal the underlying dentin layer, making it easier for stains to form.
Consequently, patients within retirement age may require repeat teeth whitening services to reach a bright white shade. Alternatively, young adults have the best chances of experiencing immediate whitening after a single session.
Best Teeth Whitening Products
Enjoying a brighter smile means shopping smart. So, what are the best teeth whitening products?
The answer depends on your personal preferences and desired results. For example, if you’re looking for an immediate improvement in tooth shade, the best option might be an at-home whitening kit with a high-percentage hydrogen peroxide gel.
However, these kinds of products are potent and can irritate your gums. And because you’re applying the gel without outside help, you might have uneven tooth coloration after treatment.
Individuals looking for a safer alternative to intense hydrogen peroxide treatments may want to invest in charcoal-based whitening pastes and gels. Though these products might temporarily turn your teeth black, the primary ingredient (activated charcoal) can also polish away surface stains.
That said, charcoal is abrasive enough to remove tooth enamel. For that reason, it might not be a suitable option for individuals with exposed dentin.
The best way to select an effective teeth whitening product is to ask your dentist. They can recommend products based on your dental health and history, keeping adverse side effects at a minimum.
Invest in a Teeth Whitening Service Today
A teeth whitening service can brighten your smile, but several factors impact treatment effectiveness. Lifestyle habits, age, and treatment type are some of the most significant aspects you’ll want to consider.
Regular teeth whitening services may be the best option for those looking to lighten their teeth shade and enjoy a brighter smile. And while at-home whitening kits are accessible and affordable, it’s often better to seek out professional treatments instead.
A professional teeth whitening service can brighten your teeth quickly and effectively. Request an appointment at Brentwood Dental Spa today to get started.