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Instant Teeth Whitening: What Your Options Are

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Key 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. Gleaming white teeth are actually on most people's to-do list, but time is precious. If instant teeth whitening was possible right before the big day, who wouldn't be interested? Well, as a matter of fact, it is. Here are your options, including the fastest teeth whitening treatments and the ones that take a bit longer.

In-Office Method

For instant whitening that's not only fast but the most effective, it is recommended that an in-office whitening method works wonders. Your dentist generally 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 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. For others, you can pick these up within a matter of days. When you're ready to insert them in your mouth, you'll release the bleaching gel into the trays according to your dentist's directions, and wear them for a few hours a day during a week or two.

Over-the-Counter Products

The value here is convenience and cost: teeth whitening strips, paint-on tooth gel, whitening toothpastes and other whitening solutions are generally available in pharmacies, 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 that the concentration of a bleach is not as strong in products sold over the counter as in those applied through your dental office.

Other Tips

For maximum whitening results 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 cavities, gum problems or sensitivity before the procedure.
  • Know that bleaching agents won't harm existing fillings and crowns, but they will not change their existing colour 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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