Even a minor change of one to two shades can make a big difference in anyone’s smile. When thinking about whitening your teeth, you should be able to achieve your optimal whiteness while still looking natural.
There are a lot of factors that determine how much your teeth can be whitened. Some of these you can control – such as whether to use a bleaching method or not, or the percent of active ingredient in a whitener – and some that you can’t, like your natural tooth color or how well your teeth respond to whitening.
Partaking in a light activated whitening session, which is commonly called chairside bleaching, results in instantly and often dramatically whiter teeth. You can also get a custom mouthpiece created by your dentist for in-home bleaching that you typically wear for several hours a day or overnight for two weeks.
Products that you can get at your local drugstore usually contain much lower concentrations of active ingredients than products from the dentist. Lower concentrations may produce less dramatic results. Whitening toothpastes also help to remove stains and maintain newly whitened teeth at very little cost.
Maintenance is necessary because whitening is not permanent. Non-smokers who don’t drink coffee or tea often see little or no change to their tooth color after a bleaching procedure for up to five years. Your own long-term results will depend on your habits and the specific foods you eat. If, like many people, you find it hard to completely eliminate coffee, tea, cola, red wine and other stain-causing items from your diet, you may require a touch-up treatment at regular intervals.
No one way to whiten your teeth is necessarily better than the others, it depends on what you want. Some people want an instant and dramatic change, while others prefer more gradual whitening such as the type that results from a whitening toothpaste or gel. Final results depend on your natural tooth color, how stubborn any stains are, and the treatment you choose.