Do you have a fantastic smile that has lost some of its lustre over the years and left your smile wanting?   It is a fact that teeth that have become discoloured over time can make us look older and less energized.

We all know intuitively how important our smile is. It is one of the first things that another person notices about us – and a great smile can leave a lasting impression.

Beyond our own intuitive feelings, research shows conclusively that people place a great deal of importance on a smile. A survey conducted by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry found that a great majority of adults believe that a smile is important in both social settings and for career success.

So the question is how do we get that smile as white and bright as it used to be? This article will review a number of options for teeth whitening – the most common cosmetic dental procedure there is. With this background knowledge you will be ready to have a conversation with your dentist to discuss your specific case.

Types of Whitening

Teeth bleaching methods can be categorized under two main headings: professional, in-clinic and at home or over-the-counter whitening products. It is also important to note that some types of teeth staining may not respond to whitening. For those cases, other cosmetic options such as veneers or dental crowns may be available.

Professional Method

Although this procedure takes place with the supervision of your dentist in a clinic environment and has a higher cost attached, it has several advantages over home whitening systems.

Dentists are permitted to use stronger agents for teeth whitening achieving quicker and more dramatic results. It is not uncommon for teeth to be whitened several shades in an hour or less.

Professional method includes built in procedures to protect the teeth as well as the surrounding soft tissues and gums during the procedure, thus making it very safe.

Tooth sensitivity can also be managed effectively by a dentist during the procedure.

Home Tooth Whitening Systems

The main advantage of this systems is that these are relatively inexpensive, easy to use and come built into a variety of oral care products including, toothpaste, mouthwash, floss and chewing gum.

Over the counter these products also come in a variety of types from whitening strips, to paint-on tooth gel to mouth trays with gel.

In terms of safety, home whitening kits contain much weaker concentrations of whitening material and are safe if used on healthy teeth within the guidelines of the products. However, in cases of tooth sensitivity or other concerns about the health of teeth, it’s best to consult your dentist before trying any of these products.

While home method can be effective, it takes more time and a consistent effort to get results.


Both professional and at home whitening methods can produce desired results. However, dentist-supervised tooth whitening maintains some significant advantages for effectively brightening your smile. Professional method is especially recommended for patients with tooth sensitivity or other health concerns.

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