Theoretically, one in a hundred people have white teeth. By this I mean that their teeth are noticeably lighter than most people. However, by todays standards, their teeth are not white enough. Today white means the color of a piece of copy paper or a bleached white shirt.

Well, you can get your teeth that white, but it will involve some effort, money and possibly pain. The cheapest method would be Crest White strips. A good method but you must follow the directions perfectly and be consistent with wearing the strips. There can be some problems with bleaching the areas between your teeth with the strips, but that can be solved. I should mention that the whitening mouth wash and tooth paste can help lighten your teeth, but it is a slow process and will produce only modest results.

The next upgrade in whitening is bleach trays made by the dentist (best method but I am a dentist ) or some kit you can purchase at the pharmacy or Wal-Mart. The dentist trays will fit the best and last the longest and will bleach all of your teeth, even the spaces between them. Also, the bleaching solution the dentist provides is strong, 22%  carbamide peroxide. An hour or two a day wearing the trays and you should be really white in seven days. A better method is to start with the Crest strips and then use the bleaching trays. This works well with super results. The bleaching pens that you apply to each tooth also work well with the trays. In short a combination of methods will provide good results.

The final whitening up grade is the Zoom and other light activated techniques which use a strong carbamide peroxide solution in the hight 20’s or low 30’s.The gums have to be protected with a coating and eye protection worn. These techniques produce results, but there are a coupe of caveats. First, sensitivity will be an issue with all bleaching techniques, but the high power ones can produce some problems. Next, all bleaching techniques require that you “refresh” the bleach every few months to maintain the results. Yes, your teeth will betray you and slip back to their orignal color.

There are a few tricks to work  with these problems. Trays are easy to use and can last a long time– years, so they can be worn any time you need a recharge. It is easy to get more bleaching solution from the dentist and keep some on hand. Next,before you bleach start using a toothpaste for sensitive teeth a week or two before you plan to bleach. A fluoride rinse can also help but has to be used daily. The dentist can provide treatments for the sensitive teeth if it is severe and chemicals that can be worn in the bleaching trays to make the teeth more resistant to the sensitivity.

All of these methods will work, but the most important thing to keep in mind is that old fillings and crowns in your front teeth will not bleach. They have to be replaced. If you chose to bleach, wait until you have the results you want and then have the fillings or crowns replaced to match your new teeth. Of course, you can  just have crowns or veneers put on your teeth and not bleach at all!