Instant Teeth Whitening: What Your Options Are

Big events in the near future – your wedding day or perhaps an important job interview – are big reasons to want to show off your best smile, and gleaming white teeth is on everyone's to-do list. But time is precious, and if instant teeth whitening is possible right before the big day, who wouldn't be in line? As a matter of fact, it is. Here are your options, including the fastest teeth whitening treatments, and the ones that take some time.

In-Office Method

For instant whitening that's not only fast, but the most effective, the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry recommends an in-office whitening method. Your dentist starts by applying a gel to your gums prior to the bleaching agent (the strength of which can feel irritating with no base-layer protection). After applying the bleach – concentrated hydrogen peroxide – to your eight front teeth, your dentist shines a special light on the bleach to enhance and shorten its whitening effect. Within one hour, your teeth can appear eight to 10 shades whiter.

At-Home Teeth Whitening

If you have a little extra time to spare, ask your dentist about a take-home whitening system. This method requires custom trays, so you will need to have impressions taken of your teeth – products like Colgate® Optic White™ Professional Home Teeth Whitening Kit allow you to do this yourself. For others, you can pick these up within a matter of days. When you're ready to put them in, you'll release the bleaching gel into the trays according to your dentist's directions, and wear them for a few hours a day for a week or two.

Over-the-Counter Products

The value here is convenience and cost: Teeth Whitening strips, paint-on tooth gel, whitening toothpastes, brushes and pens are available in drug stores, as well as mouth trays with gel. But if you're short on time (or patience), know that these methods will take longer, and the results are not as dramatic as with other whitening treatments. Keep in mind the concentration of a bleach is not as strong in products sold over the counter as it is in those applied through your dental office.

Teeth Whitening Toothpaste

Colgate® Optic White® toothpaste is formulated with 2 percent hydrogen peroxide to whiten teeth, but it takes one week to see results and four weeks of regular use to achieve nearly three shades improvement in tooth color versus the leading whitening toothpaste. It's a great choice for keeping your smile white once you've completed a faster dentist-supervised treatment. Optic White®toothpaste also gives you the benefit of fluoride to protect against cavities.

Other Tips

For maximum whitening results, according to the Academy of General Dentistry, you should know a few things before you start with any type of bleaching treatment:

  • Have your dentist examine your mouth to make sure you don't have decay, gum disease or sensitivity before the procedure.
  • Know that bleaching agents won't harm existing fillings and crowns, but they will not change their existing color either.
  • Avoid stain-causing foods and drinks like blueberries, coffee and tea, and don't smoke or chew tobacco after treatment.

Today's whitening technology is safer, faster and more effective than ever, and the variety of whitening treatments and products available is only growing. But whether you need instant teeth whitening or are considering other options, let your dentist advise you on the treatment that's most suitable for you.

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