As we get older, our teeth get duller. Bad habits like smoking, heavy drinking and consuming too much sugar can also cause discoloration. Fortunately, there are many ways to return a sparkle to your smile. Dental bleaching, veneers, whitening strips and whitening toothpaste are all different measures you can take to whiten your teeth. But which method is most effective? This post compares the four solutions.
Dental bleaching is the fastest and most effective option. It involves placing a bleaching product onto the teeth and shining a laser/light onto the bleaching product, which then whitens the teeth.
There are two main forms of this treatment: in-office and at-home treatment. In-office treatment takes about an hour and can whiten teeth two to eight shades whiter, sometimes lasting as long as five years! However, this isn’t the case with everyone – some people need multiple treatments to see the results they want and have to go back within a year to have their teeth redone. An at-home dental bleaching kit may take several sessions over two weeks to get results. Some people find it more convenient than having to regularly visit a dental clinic. It can also be more affordable. While you can buy at-home kits online, it’s best to see a dentist as they will be able to provide a reliable product.
Veneers are thin layers of porcelain or another material that are placed over the tooth. This creates the impression of perfectly white teeth. Unlike other methods, this does not physically reduce enamel stains but simply covers them up.
Veneer placement is typically done in three sessions over three weeks. It is more expensive than bleach whitening, but can have more long-term results – composite veneers can last 5 to 7 years, while porcelain veneers can last 10 to 15 years before needing to be replaced. A drawback of veneers is that there are certain foods you may not be able to eat afterwards such as sticking toffees and tough meat.
Whitening strips are a type of at-home whitening method that often uses a bleaching agent like peroxide. They are different to at-home bleaching kits provided by dentists, which typically use a custom-fitted bleach tray.
You can buy whitening strips fairly cheaply online, but the cheaper options are typically less effective. Whitening strips have to be worn every day for a few weeks to get results.
Whitening toothpastes typically do not contain any peroxide. They therefore cannot remove the deeper stains that whitening strips and other bleaching methods can. However, these toothpastes can still have an impact, making your enamel appear a few shades lighter.
Many people use whitening toothpastes because they are a cheap option. It can take two to six weeks of using this toothpaste daily night and day to see results. An exception is whitening toothpaste containing blue covarine that can have an almost instant result (although this does quickly fade). It’s worth trying different whitening toothpastes to see what works for you.