Aesthetics are increasingly important in the modern age. We like to look our best and, with the rise in life expectancy brought on by recent medical innovations, want to look our best for as long as possible. One of the ways we manage this is through teeth whitening, whether at home or in the dental office.
Worldwide, the teeth whitening market will be worth over $7 billion by 2024. The at-home whitening strips market segment is worth almost $900 million alone. Advertising and celebrity endorsements for various whitening solutions are everywhere, from TV to Instagram. Clearly, many of us want white teeth, but what's the truth on teeth whitening? Let’s look at some of the ways to get there.
Do it yourself
At-home whitening is an option with its own options, such as strips or gels. You can get teeth whitening trays from either a dentist or in a store and fill it with whitening gel before being applied to the teeth. Use it as directed, or until you get the results you want.
You can also choose from a variety of other over-the-counter whitening products. Be sure to carefully follow the directions for these products, which range from whitening strips to bleaching pens with LED lights for enhanced drying. Don’t forget to check if they have the ADA seal of approval. Although more affordable and accessible, some at-home products might not whiten as much as desired when compared to services offered at a dental office.
If you are looking for a more natural or cost-conscious method, you can use baking soda, likely already in your kitchen. Believe it or not, some people have tried to use household bleach as a cost-effective alternative—while it may brighten your white laundry, keep in mind that it is not intended for teeth whitening by any stretch of the imagination!
Consult a professional
In a dentist's office, the technicians have the knowledge and equipment necessary to properly whiten teeth by a significant number of shades. The whitening services offered by dentists typically has two tiers: one with and one without a halogen light.
The halogen light is used to quickly dry the whitening solution much faster than an at-home kit LED can. If you want dentist-approved tools, but from the comfort of your own home, talk to your dentist about purchasing the gel and tray to use at home.
What are your goals?
There are a variety of ways to whiten your teeth that provide different levels of effectiveness and risk. Make sure to consult with your dentist, no matter the method you decide to take. Many dental insurance plans cover or discount the cost of teeth whitening by a dentist, which can mitigate some of the costs. Be sure to check your coverage before you make any decisions.