Q. What are some teeth whitening options that you recommend?
In short, I recommend three options.
Professional, in-office whitening
This procedure is done in the dental office setting and many offices offer it. You simply go to your dentist, sit in the chair for about 2 hours, and walk out with your teeth about 2 shades whiter. This procedure is painless and usually involves a special blue light shined onto your teeth. It is important to realize that if you do nothing to maintain your new color, you will typically rebound (go back to your original tooth color) in about 5 to 7 years.
At home whitening
In my opinion, this is the best and most effective way to whiten your teeth. First, schedule an appointment with your dentist to get fitted for a set of mouthguard-like trays. You fill these trays up at home and wear them for one hour a day for 10 days to two weeks. You can achieve 3 and in rare cases 4 shade of improvement in whiteness. You can purchase the gel at the dental office or drug store refill tubes of gel to refresh your teeth months or years later, if needed. Keep your trays! I usually recommend a charcoal toothpaste to keep them white indefinitely. Charcoal does an excellent job of maintaining color and preventing the teeth from rebounding back to their original color.
This is usually done with activated charcoal found in the all-natural toothpastes (more on charcoal here). You may only get one shade of improvement with this method, but charcoal is what I always recommend for maintenance. If you whiten your teeth conventionally and want to KEEP them white, use charcoal toothpaste once a week. This will keep those pearlies white naturally, without all the side effects that come with the use of conventional bleaching chemicals.
Over the counter products provide a cheaper alternative to dental office visits, but the results are only average in comparison. Rather than purchase a kit with trays that usually do not fit, I would recommend Crest White Strips for a more affordable alternative.