Whiter, brighter teeth are associated with youth, health, and attractiveness. Having a dazzling smile can leave a good first impression.

If stained, yellow, or dull teeth make you feel self-conscious about opening your mouth to smile or speak, you may benefit from teeth whitening treatments. But while you may have high expectations for a dazzling new smile, your results and the time your treatment takes can depend on the type of treatment you choose.

In this blog, Emanuel Mizrahi, DDS, at Forest Hills Orthodontic Associates in Forest Hills, New York, explains how teeth whitening treatments differ and the results you can expect from each type of system.

Over-the-counter teeth whitening products

Over-the-counter teeth whitening products include whitening toothpastes, rinses, gel strips, and generic whitening trays used with a whitening gel. Depending on your degree of yellowing or stains, you may achieve some improvement with these products.

While these over-the-counter products are generally safe when used according to the instructions, your results won’t match the dramatic level of whitening you can achieve with professional treatments.

This is because the whitening agents in over-the-counter kits aren’t as strong as the whitening agent’s professionals use. The whitening agents in over-the-counter kits aren’t as strong, because manufacturers don’t want consumers to damage their teeth and gums with incorrect use.

Since each application is a relatively weaker formula, the whitening results you get with over-the-counter products can require daily applications for several weeks or more.

Professional in-office teeth whitening

You’ll get the fastest and most noticeable tooth whitening results with professional in-office teeth whitening. This process uses whitening solutions with the highest concentrations of hydrogen peroxide.

When performed under the direction of Dr. Mizrahi and his staff, professional in-office teeth whitening delivers optimal results safely. The team practices safety precautions and careful monitoring to ensure your teeth and gums aren’t damaged during the whitening process.

While professional-grade whitening solutions deliver a powerful punch against stains and discoloration, they also contain desensitizers, such as fluoride and potassium nitrate, to reduce potential post-treatment tooth sensitivity. Also, newer formulas use thicker gels that don’t soak into your teeth, thus further reducing the possibility of tooth damage.

In addition to using professional-grade formulas, in-office treatments can include a process that shines an intense light on the whitening gel after it’s coated on your teeth. The light accelerates the whitening process to deliver faster and more dramatic results in just one visit.

Professional at-home teeth whitening

Professional at-home teeth whitening allows you to get professional-grade whitening results in the convenience of your home and on your schedule. The process uses custom-fit whitening trays that are made to fit your mouth. Because these soft plastic devices are customized, wearing them ensures that the whitening solution is delivered to all surfaces of your teeth.

Using at-home teeth whitening involves adding a gel to the trays and wearing them for a time prescribed by Dr. Mizrahi.

Your custom trays are manufactured to fit snugly, which ensures the gel remains in constant contact with your teeth. This snug fit also protects gum tissue, because it forms a seal that prevents the whitening gel from seeping out of the tray and onto your gumline.

While it can take a few weeks of using at-home teeth whitening to achieve your desired results, you can get an effect close to in-office treatments by carefully following Dr. Mizrahi’s instructions.

Find out more about options for teeth whitening and the difference it can make in how you look and feel about yourself. Book an appointment over the phone with Forest Hills Orthodontic Associates today.