What You Should Know About The Different Types of Teeth Whitening

With prom, graduation, and wedding season just around the corner, the photo opps will be numerous, and the resulting pictures, everlasting. In our selfie-crazed, photo-sharing world, it’s not a surprise the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry reports that teeth whitening is the most commonly requested cosmetic dental procedure.

Whitening trends making their way in and out of social media and commercials show us just how easy a variety of over-the-counter products can be. But there are many other options as well. We will briefly outline several options here to help you know what to discuss with your dentist at your next visit. (Please note that overuse of any of these products can result in tooth sensitivity, pain, and/or discoloration.)

Teeth Whitening at Home

Whitening Toothpaste

Whitening toothpastes use a variety of techniques to lighten your teeth. Baking soda, abrasives or chemicals are used to polish the teeth and/or give a reflective appearance that removes surface stains from teeth. Look for the ADA Seal of Acceptance when considering teeth whitening toothpaste.

Timeline: They can take several weeks of use to see results.

Over-the-Counter Teeth Whitening Kits

Teeth whitening kits can include strips, trays and/or brushes that allow you to put a substance on your teeth for a more extended period of time than toothpaste. These kits usually contain peroxide which bleaches your teeth to reach stains deeper than surface stains. Again, look for the ADA Seal of Acceptance when considering over the counter teeth whitening solutions.

Timeline: They take about one to two weeks to see results when used daily for a few hours.

Cost: varies, but expect to pay $50-100 for an at-home kit

Natural Remedies

Natural remedies for teeth whitening include everything from eating healthier, jumping on board a current trend, avoiding teeth staining foods and/or sugary and acidic drinks. If you smoke or use tobacco, those are your biggest culprits, so give those up for brighter teeth.

Abrasives such as baking soda or charcoal, or rinsing agents like coconut oil can have benefits, but they are really simply creating a habit of brushing and rinsing your mouth on a daily basis. The habits of brushing twice a day, flossing and rinsing with mouthwash daily, chewing sugar-free gum and seeing your dentist twice a year results in overall good oral care.

Timeline: your lifetime

Teeth Whitening At The Dentist

There are lots of teeth whitening options available only at a dentist’s office. Depending on your specific goals and needs, your dentist can recommend the options best for you. Options can include take home kits as well as in-office professional teeth whitening treatments, which can be done over a series of visits, or in one.

Having teeth whitening done professionally means there won’t be gaps in the coverage area (typical of whitening strips), nor will they be over bleached or cause damage to your gums (which can happen with in-home self-treatments).

Take Home Kits

Many dentists provide take home teeth whitening options. Options may include a ready-made kit or custom made trays with bleach. While some of these resemble the over-the-counter whitening kits, they typically contain a more concentrated level of bleach.

Timeline: Varies depending upon strength of bleaching agent, but generally one to two weeks.

Zoom Teeth Whitening

This procedure is only available at dental offices and uses a 25% hydrogen peroxide gel in conjunction with a special lamp to whiten your teeth.

Timeline: The procedure takes about 45 minutes and results are immediate


Another option only available at dental offices, Boost uses a hydrogen peroxide-based power bleaching gel for removing stains with no special light required.

Timeline: Expect to spend one to two hours in the chair; results will be immediate


Some stains will not respond to the traditional bleaching methods; in these cases, veneers could be an option to beautify your smile.

Timeline: Multiple visits will be required with the final product delivered within two to three weeks

We love our patients and love to help them form healthy dental life that will last them a lifetime. For more information call us today to answer all of your questions so get an appointment today.