Teeth whitening is one of the most popular cosmetic dental treatments available. With the advent of Instagram and the desire to have a picture-perfect smile, bright white teeth are the first step in achieving Hollywood results. Even Dr Helen herself has done it. There are two options for whitening your teeth: In-office whitening for instant results and take-home whitening for long-lasting results.
You read that right. In-office whitening, while extremely popular, is a bit too good to be true. It does give you instant results: the dentist puts on high-concentration whitening gel and adds blue light to warm it and speed up the process, and within the hour you walk out with a brighter smile. However, 95% of the results of in-office whitening come from the mere fact that when you have your mouth open that long, the teeth dehydrate, and dehydrated teeth naturally appear whiter. Within a few days, the teeth will darken again as they rehydrate.
In-office whitening is also more costly than take-home whitening, because in order to give results that last, we must first do in-office whitening to initially the whiten the teeth, then also give you a take-home whitening kit to use after to give you results that will last. So essentially, you’re paying twice for whitening.
So why do in-office whitening? There’s only one really good reason to do in-office whitening and that’s if you have an event coming up in less than two weeks that you desire a brighter, whiter smile for. If my patients, say, have a wedding on the weekend or an on-camera appearance coming up, we offer in-office whitening.
However, if you have two weeks to spare, we always encourage take-home whitening. It’s straightforward, it’s less expensive, and the results last for two to seven years with proper maintenance.
What is take-home whitening?
Take-home whitening entails making moulds of your teeth and creating custom fitting trays that fit perfectly over the teeth. Professional whitening gel is added to the trays, and the trays are worn either for one hour for high-concentration gels or overnight for low-concentration gels. It’s that easy.