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Teeth whitening is the most popular cosmetic dental procedure in the U.S. and the perfect way to brighten your smile, restore your confidence and create a dazzling first impression. Thanks to developments in the dental world it is now possible to whiten your own teeth using professional-grade products provided by your dentist in the comfort of your own home. Not only is it a simple process, but it is also considerably cheaper than the in-office whitening alternative.
What stains can I expect a take-home teeth whitening kit to remove?
Take-home teeth whitening kits can remove the same stains as in-office teeth whitening procedures, and you can expect to see the improvement or total removal of stains primarily caused by:
- Tobacco use
- The consumption of certain staining foods and beverages including coffee, red wine and dark or strongly colored fruits and vegetables
- Aging. As we get older our teeth may take on a yellow,
grey, green or brown hue.
What stains won’t be removed by take-home teeth whitening kits?Unfortunately, some stains are resistant to teeth whitening. These include:
- Teeth that have suffered trauma that has caused the dentin inside the tooth to darken
- Teeth affected by fluorosis
- Teeth with inorganic stains
- Teeth that are discolored from any form of internal damage
Are take-home teeth whitening kits as successful as in-office teeth whitening treatment?
Take-home kits are proven to be successful in removing a large number of stains and significantly brightening teeth. However, they are provided with a lower dose of bleaching agent which is safe to be used by non-professionals and this means that your teeth may not lighten as many shades as they would do if they had been whitened in-office. Despite this, many dentists believe that take-home whitening kits can produce some of the best long-term results.
Considerations for take-home teeth whitening kits
Although professionally dispensed take-home teeth whitening kits are an extremely common and popular cosmetic dental treatment, there are some considerations that you should be made aware of.
The results of bleaching cannot be guaranteed and may vary depending on external factors such as your age, your lifestyle and the extent of staining that is present. It may be necessary for you to bleach your teeth multiple times in order to achieve your desired result.
Bleaching of any kind is not a permanent solution, although there are things that you can do to prolong the results and extend the amount of time between bleaching sessions. If you are able to avoid nicotine, red wine and other food containing tannins you should also be able to maintain your new brighter smile for longer.
Take-home teeth whitening kits are a cheaper alternative than in-office treatments, but are also more expensive than over the counter kits. You can expect a take-home tray of professional teeth-whitening equipment to cost between $100 to $400.
Are at-home teeth whitening kits right for me?
There are some patients who may not be suitable candidates for take-home teeth whitening kits. These include but are not limited to:
- Patients who have teeth that have become transparent as part of the aging process.
- Patients who have very extensive or intractable staining, as bleaching is unlikely to solve these problems.
- Patients who are sensitive to peroxide.
- Patients who have ultra-sensitive teeth or gums, which may be irritated by the chemicals used in the whitening process.
- Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. Not enough research has been done on the effect of whitening agents on unborn or nursing babies.
If you are in any doubt, speak to your dentist who will be able to advise you of your suitability for teeth-whitening.
Types of take-home teeth whitening kits
There are a large variety of take-home teeth whitening kits. Some of the most popular are:
- Opalescence Trèswhite Supreme
- Opalescence by Ultradent
- Philips Nite White Turbo
- Philips Zoom! Weekender Kit
- Philips Nite White and Day White ACP
Teeth whitening process
The exact procedure for your teeth whitening process will vary depending on which brand of take-home teething whitening kit you choose. However, typically they all contain flexible plastic moulds which are either pre-loaded with bleaching compounds, or provided with syringes containing bleaching compound which you add to the moulds just before use.
These moulds are then slotted onto your teeth and left for a period of time. Once the allotted bleaching time is completely, you should rinse your mouth thoroughly before assessing your result.
Generally, each kit provides enough bleaching compound for one two-week treatment per year, plus one or two-day touch ups every four to six months.
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