How to whiten teeth fast: 19 ways to brighten up your smile

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There are many teeth whitening systems và products, including whitening toothpastes, over-the-counter gels, rinses, strips, trays, and whitening products you get from a dentist.

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Teeth whitening is ideal for people who have healthy, unrestored teeth (no fillings) và gums. Individuals with yellow tones to their teeth respond best. But this cosmetic procedure is not recommended for everyone.

Whitening Systems

It"s never been easier to brighten your smile at home. There are all kinds of products you can try: rinses, gels, chewing gum, toothpastes, and strips.

If you decide to lớn try whitening at home, the American Dental Association suggests that you talk with your dentist first, especially if you have:

Dental restorations

At-home whiteners have peroxides, typically carbamide peroxide, in amounts ranging from 10% to 20%.

Choose a product with a peroxide level in the middle of that range. If the product doesn’t bother your mouth but doesn’t give the lightening effect you want, you can choose a higher level. If you have any questions, your dentist can help you find the whitener that best fits your needs.

Whitening toothpastes

All toothpastes remove surface stains because they contain mild abrasives. Some whitening toothpastes contain gentle polishing or chemical agents that provide additional stain removal effectiveness. You might spend $1 lớn $20, though any prices may vary.

Whitening toothpastes remove surface stains only và do not contain bleach; over-the-counter và professional whitening products contain carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide that lightens the màu sắc deep in the tooth. Whitening toothpastes can lighten the tooth"s màu sắc by about one shade. In contrast, prescription strength whitening conducted in your dentist"s office can make your teeth three lớn eight shades lighter.

Over-the-counter whitening strips & gels

Whitening gels are clear, peroxide-based gels applied with a small brush directly khổng lồ the surface of your teeth. Instructions vary depending on the strength of the peroxide. Follow the directions on the product carefully. Initial results are seen in a few days, và final results last about 4 months. A full course takes between 10 & 14 days. You may need to lớn apply them twice a day. You can buy whitening strips và gels from your pharmacy, dentist, or online for around $10 khổng lồ $55.


Whitening strips are very thin, virtually invisible strips that are coated with a peroxide-based whitening gel. The strips should be applied according khổng lồ the instructions on the label. Initial results are seen in a few days, & final results last about 4 months.

Whitening rinses

Among the newest whitening products available are whitening rinses. Lượt thích most mouthwashes, they freshen breath và reduce dental plaque và gum disease. But these products also include ingredients, such as hydrogen peroxide in some, that whiten teeth. Manufacturers say it may take 12 weeks to lớn see results. You just swish them around in your mouth for 60 seconds twice a day before brushing your teeth. However, some experts say that rinses may not be as effective as other over-the-counter whitening products. Because a whitening rinse is only in contact with the teeth for such a short time -- just 2 minutes a day compared lớn 30 minutes for many strips -- it may have less of an effect. Lớn give whitening mouthwashes a boost, some people rinse first & then brush their teeth with a whitening toothpaste. Be ready khổng lồ spend around $5 per bottle.

Tray-based tooth whiteners

Tray-based tooth whitening systems, purchased either over-the-counter or from a dentist, involve filling a mouth guard-like tray with a gel whitening solution that has a peroxide-bleaching agent. The tray is worn for a period of time, generally from a couple of hours a day khổng lồ every day during the night for up to 4 weeks and even longer (depending on the degree of discoloration and desired level of whitening). You can buy tray-based tooth whitening systems from your nearest pharmacy for around $30 or get a custom-fitted tray from your dentist for $150 to lớn $600.

Teeth Whitening Safety Tips

Follow directions. Don’t leave the strips or gels on longer than the directions say, or you might wind up with sore gums and set yourself up for other problems. After you whiten, avoid soda, sports drinks, or other acidic beverages for a couple of hours to protect your teeth.

Protect sensitive teeth. Your teeth may be a little sensitive after you whiten, but it’s usually brief. It might be less of an issue if your teeth and gums are in good shape. If it bothers you, stop the treatment and talk lớn your dentist. Gel-filled trays, which you wear over your teeth lượt thích a mouth guard, can also bother your gums if they don"t fit well. It’s a good idea to lớn stop using the sản phẩm if you start having this problem.

Don’t overdo it. How much whitening is too much? If you follow a product’s directions và get a good result, a once-a-month touch-up session is usually enough. When your teeth reach a shade you like, you’ll need to repeat the multiple bleaching sessions twice a year or less.


In-Office Whitening

In-office bleaching provides the quickest way to whiten teeth. With in-office bleaching, the whitening product is applied directly lớn the teeth. These products can be used in combination with heat, a special light, or a laser. Results are seen in only one, 30- to 60-minute treatment. But khổng lồ achieve dramatic results, several appointments are usually needed. However, with in-office bleaching, dramatic results can be seen after the first treatment. This type of whitening is also the most expensive approach.

Get a professional cleaning and mouth exam first, even if you decide khổng lồ whiten your teeth at home. You might need only a thorough cleaning to lớn restore your smile"s sparkle.

Your dentist will also look for cavities and kiểm tra the health of your gums during the exam. Treating any problems before you whiten is safer for your mouth.

Ask your dentist about which over-the-counter system to use and how much lightening you can expect. Teeth vì darken with age, và the amount of color change varies from person lớn person.

How Long do Whitening Effects Last?

Teeth whitening is not permanent. People who expose their teeth khổng lồ foods & beverages that cause staining may see the whiteness start to lớn fade in as little as 1 month.

The degree of whiteness will vary from person khổng lồ person depending on the condition of the teeth, the màn chơi of staining, and the type of bleaching system used.

Here are some tips to keep your teeth bright:

Brush or rinse immediately after having stain-causing beverages or foods.Follow good oral hygiene practices. Brush your teeth at least twice daily, floss at least once daily lớn remove plaque, và rinse with an antiseptic mouthwash at least once a day to kill bacteria that cause plaque. Use a whitening toothpaste (once or twice a week only) lớn remove surface stains và prevent yellowing. Use a regular toothpaste the rest of the time.Get regular cleanings at your dentist"s office. Professional cleanings will remove plaque, which can pick up stains from what you eat & drink. Your dental hygienist can help keep teeth looking và feeling great.Sip through a straw. This will reduce your teeth"s exposure to staining liquids.Consider touch-up treatments. Depending on the whitening method used, you may need a touch-up every 6 months or after a year or two. If you smoke or drink lots of stain-causing beverages, you may need a cảm biến up more often.

At trang chủ vs. Dentist Supervised

Do-it-yourself methods aren"t the same as getting your teeth whitened by a professional. You"ll want to lớn consider a few important differences.

Strength of bleaching agent. Over-the-counter products & dentist-supervised at-home products usually contain a lower strength bleaching agent, with about a 10% lớn 22% carbamide peroxide content, which is equivalent lớn about 3% hydrogen peroxide. In-office, professionally applied tooth whitening products contain hydrogen peroxide in concentrations ranging from 15% to lớn 43%.

Mouthpiece trays. With dentist-supervised at-home bleaching products, your dentist will take an impression of your teeth và make a mouthpiece tray that is customized lớn exactly fit your teeth. This customization allows for maximum tương tác between the whitening gel, which is applied to lớn the mouthpiece tray, and the teeth. A custom-made tray also minimizes the gel"s contact with gum tissue.

Over-the-counter whitening products also contain a mouthpiece tray, but the "one-size-fits-all" approach means that the fit will not be exact. Ill-fitting trays can irritate the gum và soft tissue by allowing more bleaching gel khổng lồ seep onto these tissues. With in-office procedures, you"ll get the bleaching agent applied directly lớn your teeth.

Additional protective measures. In the office setting, your dentist will apply either a gel to lớn the gum tissue or use a rubber shield (which slides over the teeth) prior to lớn treatment to protect your gums and oral cavities from the effects of the bleaching. Over-the-counter products don"t provide these extra protective measures.

Costs. Over-the-counter bleaching systems are the least expensive option, with in-office whitening being the costliest.

Supervised vs. Unsupervised process. First, your dentist can perform an oral exam & consider your complete medical history, which can be helpful in determining if bleaching is an appropriate course of treatment based on the type và extent of stains, và the number & location of restorations. Your dentist can then better match the type of stain with the best treatment, if appropriate, khổng lồ lighten those stains.

When your dentist does it, they"ll likely want to see you a couple of times lớn clear up any questions about the directions, to make sure the customized tray fits properly, to check your gums for signs of irritation, và to generally see how the process is working. With over-the-counter bleaching products, you"re on your own.


Should You Whiten Your Teeth?

Whitening is not recommended or will be less successful in the following circumstances:

Age & pregnancy issues. Bleaching is not recommended in children under the age of 16. This is because the pulp chamber, or nerve of the tooth, is enlarged until this age. Teeth whitening under this condition could irritate the pulp or cause it lớn become sensitive. Teeth whitening is also not recommended in pregnant or lactating women.

Sensitive teeth and allergies. Individuals with sensitive teeth và gums, receding gums, or defective restorations should consult with their dentist prior lớn using a tooth-whitening system. Anyone allergic khổng lồ peroxide (the whitening agent) should not use a bleaching product.

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Gum disease, worn enamel, cavities, và exposed roots. Individuals with gum disease or teeth with worn enamel are generally discouraged from undergoing a tooth-whitening procedure. Cavities need khổng lồ be treated before undergoing any whitening procedure. This is because the whitening solutions penetrate into any existing decay & the inner areas of the tooth, which can cause sensitivity. Also, whitening procedures will not work on exposed tooth roots, because roots vị not have an enamel layer.

Fillings, crowns, và other restorations. Tooth-colored fillings & resin composite materials used in dental restorations (crowns, veneers, bonding, bridges) vị not whiten. Therefore, using a whitening agent on teeth that contain restorations will result in uneven whitening -- in this case, making the teeth without restorations appear lighter than those with restorations. Any whitening procedure should be done prior khổng lồ the placement of restorations.

People with numerous restorations that would result in uneven whitening may be better off considering bonding, veneers, or crowns rather than a tooth whitening system. Ask your dentist what strategy is best for you.

Unrealistic expectations. Individuals who expect their teeth to lớn be a new "blinding white" may be disappointed with their results. Smokers need to lớn be aware that their results will be limited unless they refrain from continued smoking, particularly during the bleaching process. A healthy guide is lớn achieve a shade slightly whiter than the whites of your eyes.

Darkly stained teeth. Yellowish teeth respond well khổng lồ bleaching, brownish-colored teeth respond less well và grayish-hue or purple-stained teeth may not respond to lớn bleaching at all. Blue-gray staining caused by the antibiotic tetracycline is more difficult to lighten và may require up lớn six months of home treatments or several in-office appointments to successfully lighten.

Teeth that have dark stains may be better candidates for another lightening option, such as veneers, bonding, or crowns. Your dentist can discuss the options best suited for you.


Risks Associated With Whitening

The two side effects that occur most often with teeth whitening are a temporary increase in tooth sensitivity & mild irritation of the soft tissues of the mouth, particularly the gums. Tooth sensitivity often occurs during early stages of the bleaching treatment. Tissue irritation most commonly results from an ill-fitting mouthpiece tray rather than the tooth-bleaching agent. Both of these conditions usually are temporary & disappear within 1 khổng lồ 3 days of stopping or completing treatment.

If you vày experience sensitivity, you can reduce or eliminate it by:

Wearing the tray for a shorter period of time (for example, two 30-minute sessions vs. Two 60-minute sessions).Stop whitening your teeth for 2 khổng lồ 3 days to allow teeth khổng lồ adjust to the process.Ask your dentist or pharmacist for a high fluoride-containing product, which can help remineralize your teeth. Apply the fluoride product to the tray & wear for 4 minutes prior to & following the whitening agent.

Whitening hàng hóa Safety

Some whitening products you get through dentists" offices as well as professionally applied (in-office) bleaching products have the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal of Acceptance, which tells you that the sản phẩm meets ADA guidelines for safety and effectiveness. Currently, only dentist-dispensed home-use products containing 10% carbamide peroxide and office-applied products containing 35% hydrogen peroxide have this seal.

Over-the-counter bleaching products are not endorsed by the ADA, because the organization believes that professional consultation is important to ensuring safe and effective use. No whitening products using lasers are on the ADA"s menu of accepted products.

Several whitening toothpastes available in drugstores have received the seal, too. You can find a list at www.ada.org.

Not all manufacturers seek the ADA"s Seal of Acceptance. This is a voluntary program that requires considerable expense & time on the part of a manufacturer. Just because a product doesn"t have the seal does not necessarily mean that the product isn"t safe & effective.

Teeth whiteners are not drugs và therefore aren"t regulated by the FDA.


Choosing an Over-the-Counter Whitening Kit

Try to select a sản phẩm that allows the mouthpiece lớn be customized. Some kits come with a tray that can be molded lớn some degree. These are better than others that come with a standard mouthpiece.

Look for online review and ask around to lớn find out what others who may have already tried the kit you"re considering think about it.

If at any time you experience a prolonged change in the màu sắc of your gums or an increased tooth sensitivity to hot or cold foods and beverages, stop wearing the mouthpiece and see your dentist immediately.

Frequently Asked Questions About Teeth Whitening

Does insurance cover the cost of teeth whitening procedures?

No, not typically.

Do teeth whiteners damage tooth enamel?

Studies of teeth whitening products using 10% carbamide peroxide showed no effect on the hardness or mineral nội dung of a tooth"s enamel surface.

Do teeth whiteners damage dental restorations?

Over 10 years of clinical use of teeth whitening products containing 10% carbamide peroxide have not shown any damage to existing fillings.

Do teeth whiteners damage a tooth"s nerve?

There"s no evidence that the teeth whitening process has a harmful effect on the health of a tooth"s nerve. One study reported that at both a 4.5- & 7-year follow up, no one who used a teeth whitening system needed a root canal procedure on any teeth that had been whitened.


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Massachusetts Dental Society.

Gerlach, R.W. Compendium of Continuing Education in Dentistry, December 2005.

Listerine Whitening FAQ.

CVS.

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Richard H. Price, DMD, consumer advisor, American Dental Association.

Laurence Rifkin, DDS, Beverly Hills, CA.

Michael Sesemann, DDS, president, American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry.

Grace Sun, DDS, West Hollywood, CA.

American Dental Association: "Tooth Whitening Treatments," “Tooth Whitening/Bleaching: Treatment Considerations for Dentists & Their Patients. 2010,” “Statement on the Safety and Effectiveness of Tooth Whitening Products. 2012.”

Jorgensen, M. Journal of the American Dental Association, 2002.

Cleveland Clinic: "What Teeth Whitening Options Are Available?" " Effectiveness, Risks, Safety, & Other Frequently Asked Questions About Teeth Whitening."

Harvard Medical School: "Tooth-Bleaching: Better Left Up to a Dentist."

Kimberly Herrig, registered dental hygienist, Los Angeles, California.

University of California Los Angeles: "Plaque và Calculus."

University of Utah Health Care: " Watch What You Eat After Teeth-Whitening, Expert Says."

Wake Forest Baptist Health: "Teeth Whitening."

West Virginia University, WVU Extension Service: "For a Healthy Smile, Choose Foods Carefully."

American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry: "Teeth Whitening.

Academy of General Dentistry: "Teens: Want a Brighter Smile? Visit the Dentists, not the Shopping Mall."