How to Get White Teeth: A Comparison Guide
From professional teeth whitening to take-home kits, whitening strips and toothpastes, we analyse four different dental whitening methods by results, speed, lasting power and cost.
White and bright is young and beautiful — that’s the psychology behind smiles, and the reason why more people are looking for ways to rid themselves of stained teeth and enjoy the perks of whiter teeth. But not all teeth whitening methods were created the same, so we’ve built this easy comparison guide to help you clear things up.
What it is:
Dental whitening procedure is done by a professional, such as a qualified dentist
Results: Up to 8 shades whiter
Treatment: One session, 60 to 90 min
Lasting Power: Approximately 1 to 3 years
Risk Level: ⚠
Overall: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Price estimate: From $988
Potential side effects: Some patients may experience gum irritation, or mild to moderate tooth discomfort and sensitivity to heat and air after the procedure. These can fade within a day, or last a few days.
We say: Chairside whitening is the quickest and most effective teeth-whitening method because it is usually performed by a professional. It is worthy to note that, there are many beauty salons and aesthetic clinics that offer such services too, and should be treated with ample caution.
Hydrogen peroxide is typically used as an oxidising agent, and dentists can use higher concentrations (15% to 38%) because they are trained in proper usage, exposure time and suitability. They can also use LED lights and laser technology to produce more effective results. Also important to note is that a qualified dentist will always start with a proper diagnosis and treatment planning to identify and address any underlying dental conditions such as tooth decay or gum disease to ensure the safety of the treatment.
Take-home Whitening Kits
What it is:
Dental whitening trays that are issued by a qualified dentist for self-application at home
Results: Up to 6 shades
Treatment: 1x a day, 7 to 14 days
Lasting Power: Approximately 1 year
Risk Level: ⚠ ⚠
Overall: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Price estimate: From $450
Potential side effects: Like chairside whitening, some patients may experience gum irritation, or mild to moderate tooth discomfort and sensitivity to heat and air after the procedure. There is also the additional risk of a sore throat.
We say: Take-home whitening kits are the second-best option after chairside whitening. The smaller price tag, however, comes with more work. It is possible to reach the same results from the take-home kits, as you would the chairside whitening, but you’ll need to wear the whitening trays once a day, every day for one to two weeks consistently, in order to see gradual results.
Depending on the hydrogen peroxide concentration of your trays (usually 3% to 10%), wear time can range from anything between 30 minutes to an entire night. If you’re already on Invisalign, your aligners could even double up as whitening trays! Talk to your Invisalign-accredited dentist about this possibility.
What it is: DIY strips coated in whitening gel that are bought over the counter and applied at home
Results: Up to 1-4 shades
Treatment: 2X a day, 7 to 30 days
Lasting Power: Approximately 0.5 to 1 year
Risk Level: ⚠ ⚠ ⚠
Overall: ❔❔❔ (Extremely Variable)
Price estimate: From $8 a pack
Potential side effects: Assuming no underlying dental conditions, which may be worsened by unsupervised dental whitening, whitening strips may cause gum irritation, and teeth sensitivity. There is also the chance of uneven whitening.
We say: It’s hard to discuss whitening strips with any form of certainty because there are so many different products in the market. Some are effective; others less so. Treatment wise, they have to be applied twice daily, for 30 minutes a time. You may see gradual results in seven days, or it could take as long as 30 days. Whitening strips typically contain 10% carbamide peroxide, which is equivalent to 3.5% hydrogen peroxide, and are generally less effective in terms of results and lasting power.
What it is: Over-the-counter toothpaste with surface polishing properties
Results: Up to 1-2 shades
Treatment: 2x a day, over 30 days
Lasting Power: Nil
Risk Level: ⚠ ⚠ ⚠⚠
Price estimate: From $3 a tube
Potential side effects: In addition to other side effects, whitening toothpastes may cause tingling of the tongue and, in serious cases, the loss of taste. The possibility of mouth inflammation, sore throat and allergic reactions should also be considered.
We say: Whitening toothpastes contain silica, oxides, carbonates, phosphates, papain, and minimal concentrations of hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. Think of them as abrasive mechanical cleaners that remove surface stains, and keep your fingers crossed that the abrasiveness doesn’t cause damage to the teeth near the gum line (or in dentist speak, ‘non-carious cervical lesions’). With regular, twice-daily use, chances are, you’ll have nice, shiny teeth but not necessarily white ones. The effects don’t last either — once you stop, the cleaning stops too.
So, in summary…
Which teeth whitening method has caught your eye? To help you enjoy professional teeth whitening results without the hefty price tag of chairside whitening, the good folks at i.Dental are offering their Chairside Professional Whitening treatment and Take-home Whitening Kit at $1,200 (U.P. $1,438) before GST.