MERRY & bright

TEETH WHITENING OPTIONS

BY CHRISTI BLEVINS

You may have already selected your holiday wardrobe items, but in the words of a group of musical orphans in Annie, “You’re never fully dressed without a smile.” Put some extra sparkle in your holidays by dressing up your smile with whiter teeth. There are several teeth whitening options to help make them merry and bright.


OVER-THE-COUNTER


You’re probably familiar with at-home whitening strips. If you have minimal staining, these might offer the boost you want. Whitening strips, while convenient, may not be the best option if you want to lighten your tooth color by more than one or two shades. Plus, you might not get good results if your teeth are even slightly crooked.


PROFESSIONAL TEETH WHITENING


Teeth whitening is considered safe, but over-use of drugstore products can be harmful. A much more effective option is to head to your dentist, who can offer a more concentrated bleaching formula while helping ensure it isn’t damaging your tooth enamel.


Professional teeth whitening can offer visible results in an hour. It’s possible for teeth to be lightened up to eight shades in a single visit. If you have a significant amount of discoloration, you may require more than one visit to the dentist’s chair to achieve optimal results.

Laser whitening is a tooth whitening powerhouse. Your dentist will cover your gums with a barrier, apply a whitening gel, and then use a pen-like laser over each tooth. The results are immediate. For patients needing more than a single clinical whitening session, there are also hybrid teeth whitening options. Your dentist will provide intensive in-office whitening sessions and whitening agents to use at home. Unlike at-home strips that you can purchase at a drugstore, a kit provided by your dentist will include trays made specifically to fit around your teeth. Zoom whitening uses LED light and whitening trays to maintain the results. Expect three to four sessions, depending on the color of your teeth. Results are typically impressive.


KöR Whitening is another option. It is a professional whitening system that uses peroxide-based whitening gel. Your dentist will fit you for the customized KöR-Seal trays and send you home with cold-packed whitening gels. Depending on your level of staining, you may require in-office treatment, as well. This system can give you dramatic results that are virtually permanent with a monthly touch-up and good oral hygiene.

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