Choose the Best Teeth Whitener
Mellow yellow teeth with the expert scoop about teeth whiteners.
Professional whitening at your dentist's office works well, but you'll pay for the privilege. Expect to shell out about $500 for the in-office light treatment (which Estafan says also includes at-home trays and solution) and from $300 to $400 for the personalized trays if used alone.
Whitening kits sold in drugstores contain lower levels of peroxide than those sold by your dentist but may work just as well, if more slowly. And they are considerably less expensive than professional options: Kits range from $25 to $100.
Can You Whiten Sensitive Teeth?
Tooth and gum sensitivity is a common side effect of teeth whiteners, though it's not clear why some people are affected and others are not, explains Denise J. Estafan, DDS, MS. Here are a few expert tips for whitening your teeth in comfort.
Touchy teeth and gums are no cause for concern when using whiteners. "Healthy individuals with perfectly healthy gums can have a high level of sensitivity," Estafan says. The pain usually subsides within a few days.
Take it slow.
"You don't want to use the strongest and fastest [solution] because it comes with the most side effects," says Mark Wolff, DDS, PhD. Slow and consistent wins the race.
Kill the pain.
Discomfort can be tempered by brushing with toothpaste made for sensitive teeth. Also, if you're using whitening trays, ask your dentist for fluoride or potassium nitrate solutions, which can be applied to teeth in the same tray used for whitening gel and can help decrease tooth sensitivity.
"If you're going with a drugstore option, you should choose whitening strips. They work better than store-bought trays because they adhere much more closely to the tooth surface." -- Mark Wolff, DDS, PhD
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