Even if you brush and floss properly, it is still possible for your teeth to look dark or discolored from time to time. Eating brightly colored foods and drinking wine, coffee, or dark-colored soda frequently can stain the teeth and leave them several shades darker than normal. There are many over-the-counter teeth whitening products available. But, to get the best results, it is often the best idea to have your teeth professionally whitened. These are the professional teeth whitening services that most dentists provide.

In-Office Teeth Whitening Gel

This whitening process may take a few or numerous in-office visits to complete, depending on the level of whitening the patient wants to achieve. The treatment is performed by the dentist and involves applying a hydrogen peroxide whitening gel to the teeth using a syringe. The whitening gel is usually left on the teeth for up to an hour based on how much whitening is needed. Then, the gel is rinsed off and the results of the treatment determine if any additional treatment appointments need to be made.

In-Office Teeth Whitening Gel Plus High-Intensity Light

Another method that many dentists use to give their patients whiter, brighter teeth involves using a combination of teeth whitening gel and a high-intensity light (such as halogen, UV, or LED lights) to make the teeth several shades whiter. First, the whitening gel is applied to the teeth and then a high-intensity light-producing lamp or a laser light device is placed in front of the teeth. This process produces a noticeable improvement in the whiteness of the teeth even after the first treatment. Depending on the initial results, additional treatments may or may not be necessary.

Take-Home Teeth Whitening Gel Kits

If the patient prefers to do his own teeth whitening at home, dentists also offer the option of using a take-home teeth whitening gel kit. First, the dentist will take molds of the patient's teeth to make a customized whitening tray that fits the patient's teeth perfectly. This tray and a professional whitening gel product is included in the take-home kit. However, a carbamide peroxide-based whitening gel is often used for at-home whitening kits because if it accidentally gets on the mouth or gums, irritation is less likely to occur. 

Each of these professional teeth whitening methods can greatly improve the brightness of the teeth. While the in-office processes create the best results more quickly, they are usually more expensive. The take-home teeth whitening kits produce excellent whitening results at a lower cost but take more time to achieve ultimate whitening.