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The whitening of teeth has long been a widespread and effective practice. Those feeling self-conscious about age, yellowing, or other discolorations on their teeth are fully able to do something about their concerns. If you are interested, bear in mind that you have several options, each with varying levels of convenience, affordability, and effectiveness. Talk to your dentist to decide which path is best for you.

Do-it-Yourself Kits:
Home whitening kits have been readily available for years and certainly carry some advantages over in-office whitening work. These kits are much more affordable than professional dental work, and don't require you to keep a specific appointment or rearrange your schedule to visit a dental office.

That said, there are drawbacks to home whitening kits. They remove the dental professional and all of his or her insight from the equation. They are one-size-fits-all and therefore not customizable to your mouth and needs. Furthermore, the bleaching gel used in over-the-counter whitening kits is often less potent and therefore much shorter-lasting than that used in dental offices.

If price and/or time are sticking points for you, then a home kit may be the way to go. But it helps to research the two professionally performed whitening options as you make your decision:

Traditional Bleaching:
This is very straightforward, and has been the primary method of whitening for decades and decades. Here, you will meet with your dentist to discuss your objectives and find your best fit - literally. Your dentist will measure your mouth precisely and use those numbers to craft a flexible tray designed to fit closely over your teeth. He or she will provide you with a bleaching gel to coat the inside of the insert. Once you've done so and adhered the tray to your teeth, the bleaching gel will go to work, lifting discolorations from the surface of your teeth.

Traditional bleaching is the most common method, but it also carries its own drawbacks. The practice of placing the trays into your mouth and leaving them there for 30-60 minutes at a time - sometimes multiple times per day - can be inconvenient, affecting our ability to speak, eat, or swallow normally. (The bleaching trays themselves can also be messy for the untrained patient to deal with.) Since these treatments can go on for weeks and weeks, the inconvenience factor can really cramp your time.

Laser Bleaching:
Recently, laser bleaching has become more accepted and prevalent among whitening patients. Like with tray bleaching, a bleaching substance is placed on the teeth, but this method uses a small laser to accelerate the job tremendously. Once your gums are covered and secured from the gel, the dentist will apply it and put the laser to work. The laser will activate the gel into a somewhat foamy lather, and weeks' worth of tray bleaching can be done in an office visit or two.

While this method is modern and efficient, it encounters drawbacks like any other. Laser bleaching can be very expensive, and isn't any more permanent of a solution than the other two options.

Your dentist will be able to recommend a good course of action for your whitening process. Listen to his or her advice as you decide!

Teeth Whitening

laser whitening