When your teeth come in as a child, they’re typically quite white. Everyone has a natural brightness to their teeth. This brightness, however, can dull over time.
The foods and liquids you consume (e.g., coffee, tea, and red wine) can stain your teeth, as can tobacco products, certain medications, and even some mouth rinses.
Plaque and tartar, which build up without regular dental cleanings, can also cause discoloration on your teeth. Age, trauma, various medical conditions, and genetics may affect the color of your teeth.
Fortunately, there are ways to whiten your teeth, brighten your smile, and improve your confidence. Teeth whitening can last years depending on the type of whitening treatment you choose. There are several methods of whitening your teeth both at the dentist’s office and at home.
How long it takes to whiten your teeth also depends entirely on the type of teeth whitening solution you choose.
Professional teeth whitening generally takes about an hour and may show immediate results. Over-the-counter products may take just minutes to use but up to weeks to see results. LED whitening kits work after one to five uses.
Extrinsic discoloration affects the outside of your teeth. These surface stains are shallow. Causes of extrinsic discoloration include:
Intrinsic discoloration forms within your teeth. This form of discoloration is deeper than extrinsic discoloration. Causes include:
To prevent tooth discoloration and keep your teeth white after treatment, keep these tips in mind:
If a food permanently stains a white shirt, it can also stain your teeth.
Many healthy foods can also improve teeth health and brightness. These foods include vegetables, pineapple, dairy, nuts, seeds, onions, celery, and carrots, among others.
Here are three professional teeth whitening options to brighten your smile that a dental professional can do for you in a dental office:
For example, some in-office whitening treatments can last between 6 months to three years with proper care. These treatments are more expensive, and cost between $500 and $1200 per treatment.
There are also tons of home whitening kits available to whiten your teeth on your own. These kits can also provide a touch-up to prolong a professional whitening job.
Popular LED whitening kits include:
The best whitening kit for sensitive teeth
Glo uses an accelerating-warming heat and LED light technology to whiten your teeth. It costs $149 and promises whiter results in just days.
Snow claims that users will have whiter teeth in as little as nine minutes per day with its light-activated whitening gel.
You can whiten for as long as 30 minutes per session, two times per day for faster results. The kit costs $149.
AuraGlow combines professional whitening gel with LED light technology. It costs $60, is safe for enamel, and claims that users will have whitening results in as little as one treatment.
Colgate's advanced teeth whitening kit only requires 10 minutes of your day. After just 10 days of use, you'll have noticeably whiter teeth.
The Spotlight Whitening Starter Bundle is ideal for those who are seeking an all-in-one whitening routine at an affordable price.
LED teeth whitening kits provide longer-lasting results than strips and toothpaste. After you reach the desired shade, the kit only needs to be used every few weeks to a month. This will maintain your white teeth (results vary depending on the brand).
Laser teeth whitening uses professional equipment to give you those pearly whites. The dentist will cover your gums and lips, and they’ll coat your teeth with a peroxide gel.
From there, the dentist will use a laser to activate the gel’s bleaching agent, which will whiten your teeth. It can lighten your teeth up to several shades.
The laser teeth whitening process isn’t cheap. It can cost about $500 and up for one treatment. However, the results will last for several months.
These are the most common over-the-counter teeth whitening options available. These are much cheaper than professional whitening treatments. Most over-the-counter teeth whitening products cost well under $50.
Some people see results directly after using whitening strips, and these effects can last up to six months. Some people don't see results until a few days to weeks later.
How often you should whiten your teeth depends on if you choose a professional teeth whitening solution or over-the-counter products to whiten your teeth.
While a professional procedure may only require one visit, toothpastes are to be used daily, and strips and gels are to be used daily for a designated period of time.
It’s not bad to whiten your teeth so long as you choose a safe method and practice regular dental care. Whitening strips, gels, toothpastes, and other remedies are dentist-approved methods of whitening your teeth.
Teeth sensitivity varies for everyone. It may last longer or feel more intense, depending on the teeth whitening solution you’ve chosen, as well. Typically, however, you should feel better within a few hours or up to about 48 hours at most.
Teeth whitening won’t last forever. However, there are ways that you can prolong the brightened appearance of your teeth. Practice proper oral hygiene and stay away from foods, liquids, and products that can stain your teeth.
Getting your teeth professionally whitened will likely last longer than using over-the-counter products to whiten your teeth. If you use whitening products like toothpaste daily, you can prolong the brightened appearance of your teeth at home.
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