When you want whiter teeth as fast as possible, you have a few options to consider.By: Joyce Kahng, DDS •January 10, 2023
If you have a last-minute special event that popped up, teeth whitening can help you look your best and make an amazing first impression. In fact, investing in your smile is a great way to statistically perform better during job interviews or seem more friendly to other people (like prospective clients or that surprise blind date.) Or maybe you just want to improve your smile for personal reasons, but don’t like the idea of a lot of downtimes to accomplish the process.
When you want whiter teeth as fast as possible, you have a few options to consider.
Hands down, the fastest way to get white teeth in just one day is to have your smile whitened in the dentist’s office. Same-day or “chairside” whitening is accelerated with special lights that oxidize stain particles in your teeth.
A typical in-office whitening treatment takes 1-1.5 hours to complete from start to finish. The concentrated whitening gel is brushed onto your teeth, activated by the light, rinsed away, then reapplied 2-3 more times. Most people see about 7-8 shades of improvement.
If you want way whiter teeth but don’t need same-day results, a professional take-home system will do the trick. These kits include custom-fitted trays that snuggly wrap around each of your teeth. You’ll apply a small amount of professional-grade bleaching gel in the tray and wear it for about an hour a day.
Custom whitening kits give you visible results within just a few days, with full results of 7-8 shades or more after 10-14 days. As an added bonus, you can keep your trays and touch up after your six-month checkups to keep your smile white in the years ahead.
If a professional teeth whitening treatment isn’t in your budget, you can still get decent results with an over-the-counter teeth whitening strip set. Just press the strips over your teeth and form them along all of the curves and gumlines, then wear them for the prescribed length of time.
While over-the-counter systems aren’t as strong as professional whitening gels, they can still improve your smile’s brightness by 3-5 shades in most cases.
People who tend to drink a lot of coffee or tea will usually have some superficial (extrinsic) stains on their teeth. While brushing every day with straight-up baking soda is too abrasive for your tooth enamel and dental work, a baking soda toothpaste is a good alternative.
To take things to the next level, consider investing in an electric toothbrush!
Sometimes our teeth look dark because of the buildup that accumulates over time. Visible tartar and surface stains can easily be cleaned away by your dentist or dental hygienist. Then they’ll polish your teeth to leave them feeling bright and smooth, making it easier for you to manage buildup between your checkups.
Most people benefit from a dental cleaning every six months. But if you have braces or more buildup than normal, a cleaning every 3-4 months can be a great idea.
There are plenty of things we do every day that make our teeth look darker than they already are. Such as drinking coffee, tea, red wine, and soda. Dark liquids tend to accumulate in our enamel over time, so if you’re able to switch to an alternative, rinse with water right afterward, or even drink through a straw, it will help cut back on the stains over time.
If you smoke or use any type of tobacco or inhalation products, now is a great time to try to kick the habit. Tobacco-related stains are some of the most tenacious to remove from teeth. But they also raise your chances of oral cancer and lung disease.
Cosmetic porcelain veneers can give you the exact shade and hue of teeth that you’ve always wanted. Plus, veneers can be used to correct the appearance of crowding, gaps between teeth, uneven enamel, chipped edges, and other aesthetic irregularities.
Getting dental veneers is a 2-3 visit process that’s spanned across at least a couple of weeks, because of the restorations being made in a lab. But if you know you have about a month to prepare for your big event, and you want a dramatic before-and-after transformation, veneers are the best possible option!
It’s totally normal for everyone to have at least some hint of a yellow hue to our tooth structure. For some of us, that yellow shade is darker than others. Internal (intrinsic) tooth staining can also be amplified by things like traumatic injuries to our teeth or medications that we’ve taken during childhood, such as tetracycline. Internal stains are a lot more tedious to treat, so it’s best to work with your cosmetic dentist to discuss your options. Internal tooth bleaching or a porcelain crown may be your best choice.
Even with so many effective teeth-whitening products on the market, there are still popular DIY trends that people will try. For example, rubbing a lemon over your teeth. The acid in the lemon will initially make your teeth seem whiter as it etches away at the outer layer of your enamel. But what it’s really doing is thinning out your tooth structure which will make your tooth weaker and darker the longer you do it. Rinsing with hydrogen peroxide isn’t recommended either, as it can cause an imbalance of your normal oral flora, leading to staining or a black hairy tongue.
Having your teeth whitened by your dentist will ensure the best results in the least amount of time. Why give yourself a headache or cause additional complications that wind up costing you in the future? Your dental team can help you safely brighten your smile so that you’ll look and feel your absolute best.
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