Teeth Whitening

 

Which Teeth Whitening Method is Best?


Below is a summary table that lists the several options and some of the key data points. For the full scoop on each option, how they work, and exactly what to expect see the section of the guide devoted to that procedure (see Table of Contents on right).

Best Teeth Whitening Methods

 
Method Effective-
ness
Length of results Treatment Duration Side Effects Tooth Type Cost
Chair-side bleaching Excellent for yellow teeth 3 years 4-8 weeks Sensitive teeth and gums Very dark teeth, need professional evaluation $300-$1000
Dentist supervised gel Excellent for yellow teeth 3 years 3-6 weeks Sensitive teeth and gums Dark teeth, need professional evaluation $300-$500
Crowns Highly effective for one tooth 10-15 years 3-4 weeks Bulky feeling Single tooth is decayed or broken $600-$3000
Veneers Highly effective for one tooth 10-15 years 3-4 weeks Bulky feeling Single tooth needs straightening $500-$1200
Bonding Highly effective for one tooth 5-10 years 1-2 weeks Rare allergies Single tooth needs minor reshaping $300-$700
Over-the-counter gel Better with high peroxide level 1 year 1-3 weeks Sensitive teeth and gums Slightly dark to dark teeth $10
Brush-on whitening Slightly better than normal toothpaste Weeks 1-2 weeks Bad breath (alcohol formulas) Slightly dark teeth $3-$5
Whitening strips Whitens slightly, may leave lines 1 year 1-2 weeks Sensitive teeth and gums (minimal) Slightly dark teeth $15

Short Description of the Teeth Whitening Methods

Chair-side bleaching – With multiple visits to the dentist, you can receive personal attention and expert care on gel treatments, for a price.
Dental supervision gels – You get the certainty of a dentist’s evaluation with the ease of doing most of the work from home.
Dental crowns – With this expensive procedure, you can whiten a single tooth that is broken or badly decayed.
Porcelain veneers – Covering the front part of the teeth, veneers can give a tooth a white appearance with a less invasive and less expensive procedure than crowns.
Dental bonding – A single tooth can benefit from remodeling and whitening with one dentist appointment.
Over-the-counter gel – Usually a lower concentration of whitener than dentist-supervised gels, it’s popular for its ease and economic sense.
Brush-on whitening: formula or toothpaste – Use a familiar technique to achieve slight whitening improvements.
Strips – Whiten teeth without a liquid component at an affordable price and minimal tooth sensitivity.

Keep in Mind…

  • Teeth whiteners, all a form of bleaching your teeth, may not correct all types of discoloration.
  • If you have a yellow stain: you are an optimal candidate for bleaching
  • If you have brownish hues: the effects will be less beneficial
  • If your teeth are a shade of gray: effects will be minimal
  • If you’ve had previous dental work: Bleaching generally doesn’t work well on bonding or tooth-colored fillings and crowns. Best bet is to get them replaced.
  • If you have white spots on teeth, decay, or infected gums: whitening bleach is not effective

On the next page, we'll cover the details of the most common type of teeth whitening: Brush on Whitening.

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