Does Teeth Whitening Really Work?


Everyone wants a show-stopping white smile these days! And that intense demand is being met in the marketplace. Reports estimate that Americans spend an estimated 1.7 billion dolllars are spent on tooth whitening products and services each year!

But does teeth whitening really work or is everyone chasing a pearly white pipe dream?

Good news, it does work. But, there are many methods and each has a different level of effectiveness. Whitening or bleaching, whether at the dentist’s office or using an at-home treatment, changes the color of your tooth enamel by removing stains. Carbamide peroxide is the active chemical found in most whitening compounds. Different products contain different concentrations of this ingredient, yielding a variety of results.


Typically, bleaching your teeth at the dentist’s office is done with bleach and a laser or light to speed up the process. Some treatment plans include multiple visits and each visit can take between 30 minutes to an hour. This option is one of the most effective and safest routes to take. A skilled dentist will carefully prescribe the correct amount of bleach and your teeth are monitored closely. It is also extremely time effective! You can literally walk out of the dentist’s office with a dramatically whiter smile in just one visit. The downside? It’s also one of the most expensive options. But you get what you pay for right?


Another option for whitening that is supervised by a dentist, but done at home, is bleaching trays. The clear, flexible, plastic trays are molded to your teeth and then a bleaching gel is put into the trays before you place them in your mouth. Some patients wear the trays for a few hours or overnight. There are also dozens of whitening products sold at your local drugstore — but dentists warn that these products can be easily misused or overused, causing damage to your tooth enamel — so proceed with caution.


When treatments and products are administered correctly, whitening is generally considered safe. Using high concentrations of active ingredients may cause enamel damage. The safest whitening treatments are typically in-office procedures that can be overseen by dental professionals. Side effects to teeth whitening include gum sensitivity, which is why gums are often shielded during in-office procedures.


No. Teeth will become discolored again by the same factors that caused them to lose luster in the first place. But, consistent whitening will keep the appearance of discoloration at bay.


Teeth that are not taken care of are teeth that do not respond to bleaching well. Before you begin your quest for a Julia Roberts mega-watt smile, take care of any cavities or dental issues you may have.

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