You're a coffee drinker, you pick reds over whites when it comes to a good glass of vino, or maybe you just have years of stains that are making your smile not so bright. That's okay. If your smile looks less than pearly, teeth whitening is an easy fix. Deciding to whiten your teeth means choosing which way to go. There are several different options, including professional (in-office) procedures as well as at-home products to use. Which way you go depends on your needs, what you want to get out of whitening, your lifestyle, and your overall mouth health.

In-Office Treatments

If you're looking for fast, bright whitening, an in-office option may be the way to go. Even though it's often more expensive than over-the-counter products, it's extremely effective. Dental offices and cosmetic dentists use bleach, hydrogen peroxide, and lights (or lasers) as different types of whitening procedures.

The products that the dental pros use are much stronger than the at-home versions. Instead of having to apply gels, pastes, or solutions to your teeth day after day, your dentist can whiten your teeth in as little as an hour. Keep in mind, darkening caused by decay or other interior (inside of the tooth) dental issues won't disappear with whitening. Your dentist will evaluate your teeth, explain your options, and help you to choose which one is right for your specific needs.

At-Home Trays and Strips

These products typically use a hydrogen peroxide gel to gradually whiten your teeth. You'll need to either fill the trays and pop them onto your teeth or place the trips over your teeth. Both of these options require regular use for an extended period of time. The exact number of days that you'll need to apply and re-apply the product depends on the manufacturer's guidelines. Some work in as little as a few days or a week, while others take several weeks. You'll need to have enough time to put the trays or strips in and let them sit (this could be as long as a half an hour two times a day). If you're busy and don't have the time to devote to your whitening, this might not be the option for you.

Pastes and Rinses

Some toothpastes and mouth washes offer extra whitening. Pastes gently scrub off surfaces stains and rinses may use ingredients such as hydrogen peroxide to brighten your teeth. Don't expect to get the same whitening power that an in-office treatment would give you with these options. But, they are easy to use, convenient, and perfect if you're busy.

Teeth whitening gives you the chance to go from a dull smile to one that's bold and bright. Decide how long you want to devote to the whitening, take a look at your options, and pick one of the many that will work for you. 

For more information, contact local professionals like Linden  Richard V DDS.