There are two primary options when it comes to teeth whitening – over-the-counter home kits and in-office-based bleaching. Many dental offices, like Strickland Dental, now offer professional take-home dental whitening kits, which combine the benefits of in-office consultation and supplies, with the comfort and convenience of bleaching your teeth at home.

Teeth Whitening 101

All teeth whitening options are formulated with peroxide-based bleaching agents. Kits that can be purchased online or in stores generally contain between 3% and 20% carbamide or hydrogen peroxides.

These products include teeth whitening strips, brush-on whiteners, and whitening trays. While these options are certainly the most cost-effective, their results are fleeting. Most over-the-counter kits only last up to six months.

Bleachings done in a dental office typically contain anywhere from 15% to 43% peroxide. The process usually takes several appointments to avoid over-bleaching the teeth in one sitting, which often results in unnecessary sensitivity. Most in-office procedures involve a special heat or light which can be used to speed or intensify the process.

Although in-office whitenings usually require multiple appointments, the overall time needed to get a bright white smile is less than the cumulative time taken with over-the-counter kits. The cost for this kind of teeth whitening varies widely with location and process but ranges from $500-$1,000.

Benefits of Professional Take-Home Whitening Kits

Dr. Steven D. Strickland, DDS believes the best route for most patients is through a safe, convenient, and powerful hybrid of the options mentioned above – a professional-grade take-home kit.

With this option, you’ll come in for an appointment where we will take custom molds of your teeth. This ensures you get the best fit for your personalized whitening tray. After the tray has been made to your exact specifications, we’ll have you come back to pick up your complete kit. At this time, we will go over the instructions and can answer any questions you may have about the process.

Benefits of this option include:

  • Personalized treatment customized to your individual wants and needs
  • Confidence that a board-certified dentist is overseeing your whitening
  • Significantly lower cost than in-office whitening procedures
  • Comfort and convenience of completing your whitening at home
  • Gradual whitening that results in far less tooth-sensitivity
  • Long-lasting results similar to in-office options

It is important to keep in mind that teeth whitening will not work for everyone. This is another reason seeing your dentist beforehand is so valuable. Bleaching will not work on veneers, composite fillings, or discoloration caused by certain illnesses or medications.

If you have questions about whether you’d be the right candidate for teeth whitening, please call our office to speak with a friendly staff member about your options.

How to Make the Most of Your Teeth Whitening

After you’ve spent the time and money to whiten your teeth, you want that bright smile to last! Below are some tips to make the most of your new, whiter smile:

  • For the first 24 hours after bleaching your teeth, we recommend a “white diet” that includes mainly white foods, like
    • Cauliflower
    • White bread
    • Potatoes (peeled)
    • White rice
    • White pasta
    • Skinless poultry
    • Whitefish
    • Egg whites
    • White cheese
    • Skim milk
    • Coconut water
    • Still or sparkling water
  • Minimize consumption of food and drinks that can stain your teeth
    • Acidic foods – citrus, tomatoes, pineapples, pickled foods, and processed meats
    • Dark-colored beverages – coffee, tea, soda, grape juice, and red wine
    • Dark sauces – tomato sauce, mustard, and soy sauce
    • Dark-colored fruits and vegetables – berries, purple cabbage, grapes, carrots, beets, cherries, pomegranates, spinach, and other dark leafy greens
  • If you do enjoy the food and drinks mentioned above, try drinking through a straw and rinse your mouth immediately following consumption
  • As always, avoid tobacco products such as cigarettes and chewing tobacco
  • Maintain a preventative oral hygiene routine that includes brushing at least twice per day, and flossing at least once per day

For questions about teeth whitening or to schedule an appointment, please call our office today at (703) 494-6811.