How To Choose Teeth Whitening Kits

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Which product will give you the brightest, whitest smile? Teeth whitening kits can reduce the appearance of stains and give you the glam smile you desire — and deserve. If you're not sure how to choose the just-right kit for your needs, take a look at the questions to ask right now.

What Does the Pro Have to Say?

Do you prefer an at-home whitening product over an in-office procedure? This preference doesn't mean you can go without professional advice. Talk to your dentist before investing in a kit. Not only does your dentist have the knowledge and experience necessary to recommend the best products available, they know your individual dental or oral care needs.

Some whitening products may cause teeth or gum sensitivity. If you already have sensitive teeth or periodontal (gum) problems, your dentist can help you to choose a whitening option that won't add to your existing oral issues.

Is a Professional Product Better Than OTC Whiteners?

Over the counter (OTC) products aren't the only types of at-home whiteners. If you don't have time to schedule a full dental office procedure, you can still get a professional level whitening. Some dental practices offer take-home options — with a professional strength whitening gel or topical treatment. Peroxide is the most common ingredient in these products. An at-home professional level whitener may contain carbamide peroxide in concentrations that range from 10 to 38 percent, according to the American Dental Association (ADA).

The higher peroxide concentration means that professional kits may give you a brighter smile or whiten in less time than an OTC paste or strip product. If you're not sure whether to choose a professional whitener over an OTC kit, talk to your dentist. Your dental provider can discuss the options and help you to select a product that meets your oral care and aesthetic needs.

How Much Whitening Do You Need?

More specifically, how many shades whiter do you want to go? There are two primary types stains — extrinsic and intrinsic. Extrinsic stains are surface discolorations. Beverages such as tea and coffee and foods such as blueberries can cause this type of staining. Intrinsic stains result from an internal injury or a systemic issue.

Minor extrinsic staining may not require a professional strength kit. But if you have dark or persistent surface stains, you made need a product with a higher concentration of whitener. Intrinsic stains may not respond to topical whiteners. Instead, you may need to explore options such as porcelain veneers.

For more information on teeth whitening kits, talk to your dentist.