Tooth whitening has been around for thousands of years. White teeth have been considered attractive and desirable almost uniformly throughout history, and different methods of tooth whitening have been invented and used as far back as Ancient Egypt. Most ancient methods are not suitable for use today, because they involved gradual or sudden damage to the teeth, usually by grinding.
In modern dentistry, tooth whitening is generally done in one of two ways, with an additional third option as a compromise between the others.
The cheapest method of whitening your teeth is to go to a drugstore and purchase an over-the-counter tooth whitening kit. This will generally include a hydrogen peroxide based bleaching agent, and trays to contain the bleaching agent and fit on your teeth. The instructions for these home use kits vary, but typically involve inserting the trays in your mouth overnight to bleach your teeth for many hours at a stretch.
However, the bleaching agents in over-the-counter products tend to be so weak that they often need to be used nightly for weeks before any result is visible. In addition, the trays are manufactured generically and may fit your mouth poorly, causing discomfort or even leaking of the bleaching agent.
The fastest way to effectively whiten your teeth is to get them bleached professionally. Dentists whiten teeth using clinical strength concentrations of bleaching agents, which are much more rapid and effective than their home-use counterparts. Some dentists also have special equipment (lasers or heat lights) to help speed the whitening process. Laser tooth whitening is a service we offer at Minneapolis Dental, after consultation and examination to determine if you are a candidate for professional whitening. There are some preliminary steps, such as ensuring you have no unfilled cavities which could expose the inside of your tooth to the bleaching agent. Once you are prepared for treatment, we can lighten your smile by up to 5 shades in a single one-hour session of laser tooth whitening.
The third option for tooth whitening is professionally supervised home use treatment. First, we will custom make a bleaching tray to fit your teeth exactly, for maximal comfort as you whiten your teeth. We will provide you with an effective whitening agent and we will work with you to establish a schedule you can easily follow to get optimal results. With this approach, you have a professional dentist to consult with at all times on any questions or concerns, and you can expect eventual results comparable to in-office whitening.
Call us at Minneapolis Dental to discuss your tooth whitening options. We will help you get the beautiful smile you want in the most effective way possible.