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Spring and summer bring sunshine and warm weather (hopefully) to our area. Many people begin thinking about brightening their smiles this time of year. Teeth whitening procedures help many people to achieve this goal.

Whitening systems are usually very effective for people with surface staining and very few anterior restorations. There are many options available, and making a decision as to which system to use can seem overwhelming. There are whitening toothpaste, over-the-counter products, daytime or nighttime whitening systems, and in-office whitening technology, all of which have varying degrees of effectiveness.

Teeth whitening works well for many people, but not everyone. Some people have intrinsic (within the teeth) stain that isn’t likely to whiten very much. For patients with multiple restorations in the front teeth, they will probably get very little benefit from whitening. These patients are often better candidates for porcelain veneers.

Whitening toothpaste and other over-the-counter whiteners are effective for some people, are milder and less expensive than those used by dentists. They can also be used without the supervision of a dental team. However, the results are often less dramatic and often don’t last as long. I tell many of my patients that these products are relatively inexpensive and are worth a try. We can always help them achieve more substantial results if they are dissatisfied.

The most popular professional whitening systems generally involve stronger whitening agents and either take-home bleaching trays or faster in-office whitening technology. The take-home products usually take about two weeks to get the desired effect.

In-office whitening systems have become extremely popular due to the “instant gratification” aspect. At a time when people seem to be busier than ever, many people prefer one-hour solutions like Zoom! whitening. These in-office systems are generally more expensive because of the cost of the technology, the whitening materials, and the additional time and expertise required by the dental team.

The efficacy of these products is generally determined by the strength of the whitening agents, patient compliance, beginning tooth color, how many restorations are present, and the patient’s diet. People who drink a lot of coffee, red wine, colas, or who smoke regularly, will most likely need to “touch-up” their whitening more frequently with any of these methods.

Teeth whitening is more popular than ever because many people want to have whiter, brighter teeth. Remember that teeth whitening can be effective for most people, but not everyone. Consult with your dental team for more specific advice to make sure that you get the results that you want.

If you don’t have a dental family, please call us at 926-5445 or 531-8914 to schedule a free consultation. For more information on teeth whitening and a variety of dental topics, please visit