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There are many methods of teeth whitening, as you may well be aware from the commercials and ads we’re bombarded with nowadays. Ranging from simple off-the-shelf products at the local big box store to a high-quality professional application at a dentist, there is a product available for most budgets. At the upper end of the scale, your local dentist offers the most effective treatment methods, which will create a lasting, beautifully white smile with minimal effort on your part. Some optimistic claims of at-home treatments should be viewed with a grain of salt. They can also be effective, but buyer beware; the general rule, “you don’t get what you don’t pay for” applies here.

Any tooth whitening plan you want to pursue requires a few necessary choices on the part of the patient. First, what degree of whitening do you want to achieve? How quickly do you want results? Would you like a simple method that requires frequent treatments, or a complicated method that only has to be applied infrequently? Those fond of coffee & other highly-staining beverages will have to consider whether that delicious cup of espresso early in the mornings is worth sacrificing in exchange for a smile that’s a few shades brighter.

One option that straddles the line between high-quality visits at the dentist and off-the-shelf products are dental trays. They are a custom-fitted set of appliances obtained from your dentist, and can provide consistent results for a lifetime. Their primary benefits are that they are specific for your teeth, and are more comfortable and safe to use than other methods. The patient simply requests them from a dentist, and they are installed for a number of hours each day, producing a remarkably whiter smile in as little as a few days to a couple of weeks. Another alternative is whitening strips, such as those made by Crest®, although they have the potential to cause irritation of the gums for some people. However, no matter what method you prefer, proper brushing and healthy diet choices are essential for any whitening program in order to produce lasting, positive results.