Every year, around 38 million Americans get their teeth whitened. We live in a culture that strongly emphasizes your pearly whites, so you may feel a bit self-conscious about yours.
Over time, everyone’s teeth are prone to staining and discoloring due to foods, drinks, genetics, and habits like smoking. With teeth whitening procedures, you can restore their whiteness.
But what’s better for you: at-home or professional treatments? In this article, we’ll discuss the different ways of brightening your teeth and what the best teeth whitening solution is for you:
At-Home Teeth Whitening
With the high demand for teeth whitening, many at-home products have been created to meet this need. It gives you the choice to skip a dental visit and DIY instead. Below, we’ll explore the pros and cons of at-home teeth whitening products.
Pro: It’s Convenient
Like we said, you don’t have to make an appointment with your dentist. All you have to do is pick up the whitening kit, which you can find at a variety of stores. Then, once you have it in your house, you can use it whenever you have some spare time.
You’ll spend time and gas money spent driving to the store, but it’ll be less than if you had to go to the dentist’s office. Plus, you can use the kit while doing chores at home; kill two birds with one stone.
Pro: It’s Cheap
Most at-home teeth whitening kits cost under $100; you may even be able to find ones for around $20. If you have a tight budget and your teeth aren’t terribly stained, this can be an excellent solution to perk them up.
Con: You Risk Damage to Your Teeth
Some teeth whitening kits use chemicals that are abrasive on your teeth, which can strip your enamel. This is the protective layer that fends off tooth decay, so the less of it you have, the higher the chance of you getting cavities.
Even if you get a product that’s safe on your teeth, there still may be a risk of damage if you don’t follow the directions correctly.
Con: You Also Risk Damage to Your Gums
Since at-home teeth whitening trays aren’t custom-fit to your jaw, it probably won’t be a perfect fit. The bleaching solution can end up on your gums, which can irritate it and cause it to recede. As a result, you may get some dental sensitivity.
Con: Results Don’t Last as Long
Since the chemicals in at-home kits aren’t professional quality, they’re not as strong. While your teeth may look fantastic right after using the kit, they may become stained quickly afterward. You can help fight against this by avoiding dark drinks like coffee and tea.
Teeth Whitening at the Dentist
Professional teeth whitening is done at your dentist’s office. They have several options, such as dental bleaching with halogen light or custom whitening trays. Read on for the pros and cons of professional teeth whitening.
Pro: It’s Safe
Your dentist and their team understand the anatomy of your teeth. This means they’ll be able to apply the treatment without harming your teeth or your gums.
They can use amorphous calcium and phosphate (ACP) as a desensitizer, which provides safer whitening than at-home methods.
Pro: It’s Reliable
Since you’re getting your teeth whitened by trained professionals, you can count on them to give you consistent results every time you go in. Whereas if you’re using an at-home whitening kit, you may not always get the best results since you’re not an expert in using these treatments, nor are you experienced.
Pro: It Has Better Results
Dentists have access to chemicals and equipment that general consumers can’t get their hands on. You’ll be able to get much more dramatic results than from using DIY kits. Not only does this mean dentists can get whiter teeth for you in a safer way, but they can also remove stubborn stains that at-home kits can’t.
Con: You Have to Make an Appointment
You won’t be able to get your teeth whitened the next time your schedule’s free; you’ll have to work around your dentist’s calendar. Depending on how busy they are, you may have to wait longer than you want to get this procedure done.
Also, you’ll have to clear out more time around that time frame to get to and from the dental office. You may need to ask for some time off of work to accommodate your appointment.
Con: It’s Expensive
You know the saying: you get what you pay for? This definitely applies to teeth whitening. Yes, professional teeth whitening will get you amazing results, but it usually comes with a high price tag.
Depending on the particular treatment you get, expect to pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars per session. Often, dental insurance doesn’t cover this cosmetic procedure, so even if you have it, it won’t help in this case.
Ultimately, the best teeth whitening solution for you will be one you’re comfortable with and can afford. Professional teeth whitening will have more noticeable results and will have a much lower chance of harming your teeth.
However, if your teeth just need a little bit of whitening, you may be able to get away with saving some money and using an at-home kit instead. Just make sure to do your research and carefully read the instructions so you don’t damage your teeth in the process.
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