If your teeth are dark or discolored, you may want to have dental whitening—professional teeth bleaching in your dentist’s office—to get a whiter smile.(7) The degree of whiteness obtained will vary between individuals, and depends upon the condition of the teeth and the nature of the stain.(5)
Dental Whitening at the Dentist
Dental whitening performed in your dentist’s office provides immediate results.(2) This procedure is called chairside bleaching and, depending on the level of discoloration, may require multiple office visits. (3) (6) Each visit may take from 30 to 60 minutes. Your dentist will apply a bleaching agent to your teeth and a special light may be used to enhance the action of the bleaching agent.(5) Light-activated chairside bleaching can make your teeth three to eight shades lighter.(6) This is the quickest way to whiten your teeth, but it is also the most expensive, costing an average of $500 per visit.(5)(6) If your teeth start to darken, it requires another office visit for another treatment or touch-up.
Dental Whitening Kit from Your Dentist
You can also perform dental whitening at home by purchasing an at-home professional teeth whitening kit from your dentist. Your dentist creates a mold, similar to a sports mouth guard, which fits your teeth precisely. (5) This involves a trip to the dentist to take the impression for the mold, and a second trip to pick it up. You purchase the mold and the bleaching gel from the dentist; if you need more gel, you must buy it from your dentist. These dental whitening kits are a professional and convenient at-home way to whiten your teeth. However, they can also be more expensive versus at home options, ranging in price from $100 to $400. (6)
Dental Whitening at Home
At-home, over-the-counter options also exist for dental whitening. These options are convenient, affordable, effective, and readily available at retail drug stores and chain stores.
Retail dental whitening options include soft-bristled toothbrushes such as Oral-B Advantage 3D White Vivid or Oral-B Pulsar 3D White Advanced Vivid that remove stains by the mechanical action of the bristles against the tooth surface. (8) All toothpastes remove surface stains because they contain mild abrasives (4)(5), but whitening toothpastes such as Crest 3D White Vivid or Crest 3D White Advanced Vivid have additional ingredients that polish away surface stains to gently whiten teeth. Whitening rinses such as Crest 3D White Multi-Care Whitening Rinse whiten teeth by removing surface stains. (1)(2) Teeth whitening systems such as Crest 3D White Whitestrips contain the same safe ingredient that dentists use.
While the dental whitening products available at retail stores do not provide the immediate results that chairside bleaching in your dentist’s office does, they do provide convenient and affordable whitening. Teeth whitening will not be permanent. If your teeth are exposed to foods or beverages that cause staining, you may see the whiteness start to fade in as little as a month. If you avoid foods and beverages that stain your teeth, you may be able to wait a year or longer before another whitening treatment or touch-up is needed.(5)(6)
- Crest. 3D White Whitestrip/Paste/Rinse/Regimen/Brush Claims.
- Crest. Introducing Crest and Oral-B 3D White: A Transformational Tooth Whitening Product Collection.
- Job task assignment sheet (“dental whitening” = “teeth whitening”)
- Crest. 3-D WHITENING: The Science Behind a White, Bright and Beautiful Smile. P&G Oral Care Science.