Do You Want To Whiten Your Teeth, Fast? - Sherman & Balhoff Orthodontics (2024)

Modern technology has madeteeth whitening methodsaffordable and effective more than ever before. Thisbillion-dollar-a-year- industryclaims to help people all over the world happier with their perfect teeth, but not all teeth whitening methods are safe and/or effective.

What makes teethlook yellow? Teeth look yellow due to smoking, bruxing (grinding your teeth), staining foods and drinks, and aging enamel. If you tooktetracycline antibioticsduring childhood, you may have yellow teeth.

Do You Want To Whiten Your Teeth, Fast? - Sherman & Balhoff Orthodontics (1)

There are two basic types of teeth whitening:

  • Extrinsic whitening: Extrinsic whitening is whitening teeth by using mild abrasives to remove stains from the outer surfaces of teeth. This reveals the color underneath but does not actually change the color of teeth.

  • Intrinsic whitening: Intrinsic whitening is a teeth whitening process that uses a tooth bleaching agent to change the color of the enamel of your teeth. The only tooth whitening agent used widely is peroxide.

Some teeth whitening methods are most beneficial forpreventingteeth yellowing or staining.

1. Use whitening toothpaste

Whitening toothpastes generally use a combination of ingredients to remove stains from teeth, including:

  • Carbamide or hydrogen peroxide

  • Mild abrasives (including activated charcoal, baking soda, silica, dicalcium phosphate, calcium carbonate, sodium metaphosphate, zirconium silicate, and calcium pyrophosphate)

  • Hydroxyapatite

According to a 2018 review, whitening toothpasteseffectively whiten teethand offer a brighter smile by removing surface stains.

Most whitening toothpastes, however,do not intrinsically whiten/bleach teeth.

However,hydroxyapatite (HAp) toothpasteis the only whitening toothpaste that can intrinsically whiten teethfrom the inside out. It literally “fills in” the space in your enamel for a whiter, brighter appearance.

Cost:$5-30 per tube

Type:Extrinsic whitening and intrinsic whitening (HAp toothpaste only)

Pros ofWhitening Toothpaste:

  • Inexpensive

  • Can intrinsically whiten teeth, in the case of HAp toothpaste

  • Does not contain enough peroxide to cause oral cancer concerns

  • HAp and fluoride toothpaste may also prevent and help to reverse tooth decay

  • HAp toothpastes are usually formulated to be safe for children (although other whitening toothpastes are not safe for children’s teeth)

Cons ofWhitening Toothpaste:

  • Some toothpaste abrasives may increase the risk of cavities (choose a toothpaste with low relative dentin abrasivity to avoid this)

  • Peroxide toothpastes may cause abnormal lesions on teeth when overused

  • Peroxide may permanently destroy some of the collagen content of teeth when overused

We recommend only using an abrasive whitening toothpaste for 2-3 weeks at a time to remove tooth stains. However, hydroxyapatite toothpastes are safe for long-term use, as they don’t use strong abrasives.

Do You Want To Whiten Your Teeth, Fast? - Sherman & Balhoff Orthodontics (2)

2. Switch to an electric toothbrush

Electric toothbrushes remove surface stains from teethmore effectivelythan manual toothbrushes.

Oscillatingelectrictoothbrushesare generally the best for teeth whitening compared to sonic-powered toothbrushes.

Electric toothbrush costs range greatly because of the “bells and whistles” they often add. There is no evidence that added features, like Bluetooth or specialized heads, improve brushing in a way that improves teeth whitening effects.

Inexpensive electric toothbrushes have similar teeth whitening benefits to those that cost hundreds of dollars.

Cost:$8-$300 (high-quality electric brushes usually cost $25-$80)

Type:Extrinsic whitening

Pros of ElectricToothbrushes:

  • Associated with no side effects or potential dangers to oral health

  • May offer better protection against tooth decay than manual brushes

Cons of ElectricToothbrushes:

  • Overbrushing is more common; may cause gum recession or tooth sensitivity if you brush too hard or too often

  • More expensive than manual toothbrushes

3. Get a professional tooth whitening treatment

For teeth whitening at your dentist’s office, expect 1-3 sessions of 30-60 minutes each.

During each session, a high concentration of carbamide or hydrogen peroxide (20-43%) will be “painted” onto the teeth. A polymerization light is used to activate the gel, and it’s reapplied several times over the session.

Although hydrogen peroxide can be used, carbamide peroxide is considered the industry standard because it has a much longer shelf life.

Some dentists will finish by using a UV light to accelerate the chemical reaction and the whitening process. You may also be offered the option to do just one 2-hour session, which will always include UV light.

Cost:$650-1250 for each session

Type:Intrinsic whitening

Pros of ProfessionalTeeth Whitening:

  • Whitens teeth from the inside out

  • Whitens teeth fast (you’ll see whiter teeth after just one treatment)

  • Treatment and supervision by your dentist reduces the risk of damage to your teeth or gums compared to home teeth whitening systems

Cons of ProfessionalTeeth Whitening:

  • Some of the whitening effect goes away 2-7 days after treatment

  • Added whitening effect of a UV light rebounds after 7 days or fewer

  • UV light results in greatly increased risk of sensitive teeth (and there’s no proof it actually works for more than a few days)

  • Expensive

  • Require a visit to your dentist (can’t be done at home)

BestProfessional Whitening System:

No one professional whitening system is particularly better than another. Just avoid UV light!

At Sherman and Balhoff we are concerned about the health of your teeth as well as the aesthetics. Schedule a complimentary consultation today!

4. Get a custom whitening gel tray

The best, longest-lasting, most sustainable way to whiten your teeth is with custom whitening gel trays. These whitening gel trays are made and custom-fitted by your dentist based on unique impressions of your teeth.

You can keep your tray indefinitely, as long as your teeth stay in the same place. You’ll purchase whitening gel to use at home (it keeps in the fridge) anytime you want to whiten your teeth.

To use a custom whitening gel tray:

  1. Remove the whitening gel from your refrigerator.

  2. Squirt the peroxide gel into the tray.

  3. Gently place the tray over your teeth, being careful to allow the fit to protect your gums from being exposed to the gel.

  4. Leave the tray on for 1-3 hours. Do not leave it on overnight, which may cause tooth sensitivity.

Take care of a whitening tray like you would a retainer, night guard, or any oral appliance — store it in water with baking soda when not in use.

Most people achieve the results they want within 2-3 weeks of daily use, although it may take 6-8 weeks for more stubborn yellowing. Don’t whiten for multiple weeks more than once per year.

Don’t purchase over-the-counter gels above 10% concentration to use at home. Otherwise, your teeth maybecome very sensitive.


  • $250-500 for custom tray

  • $20-40 for each peroxide gel refill

Pros of CustomWhitening GelTrays:

  • Best professional results at a much lower cost than professional whitening systems

  • May be included as a part of Invisalign treatment

  • With 10% peroxide gels, you shouldn’t experience tooth sensitivity

  • Won’t damage your sensitive gum tissue because the tray protects soft tissue in the mouth

Do You Want To Whiten Your Teeth, Fast? - Sherman & Balhoff Orthodontics (3)

Cons of CustomWhitening GelTrays:

  • Higher peroxide gel percentages (over 10%) may result in tooth sensitivity or even damage to the tooth pulp

  • Require 2 initial visits to your dentist

Best CustomWhitening GelTrays:

We create custom 3D scans, using our iTero scanner, of our patients teeth and print retainers that are custom for your mouth!

5. Apply whitening strips

Whitening strips are small pieces of a flexible plastic coated with a whitening gel.

To use these products, likeCrestWhitestrips, a strip for the bottom and one for the top are molded around the teeth and left for 5-30 minutes. Most whitestrips are intended for use over a few weeks, but some Crest Whitestrips can whiten teeth at home in one day.

Because peroxide and the adhesives in most whitestrips can damage or irritate sensitive gum tissue, it’s best to cut the strips down before use.

Some more “natural” whitening strips do not use bleaching products but use other whitening agents to remove stains. These other agents do not whiten teeth intrinsically.

The gel in whitestrips shouldn’t come into contact with tooth decay, so it’s best to use these teeth whiteners shortly after a dental visit to ensure you have no untreated cavities.

Cost:$13-60, depending on strength and brand

Type:Intrinsic (peroxide-based whitestrips) and extrinsic whitening (non-peroxide whitestrips)

Pros ofWhitening Strips:

  • Readily available at drugstores and on Amazon

  • Easy to use

  • Create results within a few days or weeks

  • Crest 3D Glamorous White Whitening Strips are approved by the American Dental Association (ADA)

Cons ofWhitening Strips:

  • May cause uneven whitening results if not applied perfectly (especially if your teeth aren’t straight)

  • May lead to soft tissue damage in the mouth from free radical reactions

  • Can increase tooth sensitivity

  • May cause excruciating pain if applied to a tooth with an open cavity

6. Use baking soda toothpaste

Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) is an effectivehome remedyforyellowingteeth.

Research indicates that toothpastes that contain baking sodaremove stainsfrom yellowing teeth more effectively than other pastes. The higher the concentration of baking soda, the better the results.

While you can look for toothpastes that include baking soda, the easiest way to implement this is to DIY it:

  1. Mix 2 teaspoons of water with a teaspoon of baking soda.

  2. Dip your brush in the mixture.

  3. Brush your teeth as normal.

Cost:$1-$30, depending on the brand of baking soda or baking soda toothpaste

Type:Extrinsic whitening

Pros ofBaking Soda:

  • Inexpensive

  • Widely available for purchase

  • Easy to use in DIY toothpaste formulas

  • Non-toxic to the mouth

  • Only mildly abrasive, especially compared to most whitening toothpaste abrasives (contrary to popular belief)

  • Removes plaque to protect against tooth decay

Cons ofBaking Soda:

  • Will not be as effective on its own as in a full toothpaste formulation (baking soda is best for whitening and enamel strength when combined with fluoride and hydrogen peroxide)

7. Try oil pulling

Oil pullingmay remove some surface stains from teeth, but it isn’t a very effective teeth whitener. However, it will balance theoral microbiomeand reduce inflammation of bleeding gums/gingivitis.

Coconut oil does have the ability to bind to bacteria on the teeth and, therefore, remove some surface stains. But oil pullingwill not “whiten” teethany more than swishing your mouth regularly with water.

However, since oil pulling is so good for oral hygiene in general, I include it on this list as a combo method of stain removal and stain prevention.


Type:Some extrinsic whitening, preventative

Pros ofOil Pulling:

  • Beneficial to overall oral health

  • Reduces the risk of plaque buildup on teeth, which could cause teeth yellowing

  • No known common side effects

Cons ofOil Pulling:

  • Can’t actually whiten teeth; more a “preventative” measure to avoid plaque buildup

  • In extremely rare cases, has been connected with lipid pneumonia

  • Can clog water pipes if spit into the sink (always spit used coconut oil into the trash can)

8. Practice good oral hygiene

Everyone’s teeth yellow somewhat over time — it’s a normal part of aging. However, the best way to prevent your teeth from changing color rapidly is good oral hygiene.

A word of caution: Any oral hygiene routine that involves antibacterial products is bad for the oral microbiome. Avoid or greatly limit your use of antibacterialmouthwash, antibacterial toothpaste, essential oils, and hydrogen peroxide mouth rinses.

The best oral hygiene routine involves:

  • Brushing your teeth at least twice per day and 45 minutes after meals containing sugary, acidic, or processed foods

  • Flossing at least once a day

  • Scraping your tongue every day

  • Oil pulling with coconut oil

  • Dental probiotics, especially if you have existing oral problems like bad breath, cavities, or bleeding gums

Type:Extrinsic whitening, preventative

Pros of GoodOral Hygiene:

  • Healthy teeth age slower than unhealthy teeth with weakened enamel, which means they yellow at a slower rate.

  • Brushing teeth not only keeps them healthy on the inside, but the outside (preventing surface stains from forming).

  • Maintaining a healthy oral microbiome prevents not only plaque buildup — which discolors teeth — but also gum disease, which can lead to tooth loss.

9. Don’t skip dental checkups

Getting a teeth cleaningevery 6 monthsis a very important part of preventing tooth stains and yellowing.

Your hygienist will remove tartar from your teeth, which can’t be removed at home. This tartar could otherwise lead to cavities, gum disease, and even painfultooth abscesses. Plus, removing tartar improves the color of your teeth.

In addition to yourbi-yearly cleaning, your dentist will examine your teeth for issues. He or she isn’t just looking for white teeth — they’re making sure you have no oral disease that could age or otherwise harm your dental health.

Cost:$100-200 per visit, depending on your location (usually covered by dental insurance)

Type:Extrinsic whitening, preventative

Pros of DentalCheckups:

  • Important for overall oral health

  • Removes yellow tartar and plaque buildup

  • Allows your dentist to catch oral disease that could otherwise yellow or damage teeth

10. Prevent teeth stains caused by food

Certain acidic foods or highly pigmented drinks can cause tooth stains. To avoid teeth stains from these foods and drinks, limit your intake and rinse your mouth with water after eating or drinking them.

Then, 45 minutes after rinsing with water, brush your teeth.

Foods and beverages that stain your teeth include:

  • Red wine

  • Berries (blackberries, blueberries, etc.)

  • Pomegranates

  • Regular and diet soda

  • Black tea

  • Curry

  • Marinara sauce

  • Turmeric

  • Balsamic vinegar


11. Quit smoking & tobacco use

Tobaccoproducts, including cigarettes, cause external tooth staining and age (yellow) teeth prematurely.Smokingother products, like vape pens or THC, can result indry mouth, which also ages tooth enamel and leads to poor oral health.

To prevent damage to your teeth, including yellowing and weakened enamel, stop smoking and using all tobacco products.


12. Get veneers

If you have permanent damage to your teeth, including discoloration that can’t be fixed, talk to your dentist aboutveneers.

Veneers are permanent, artificial tooth coverings that can replace the appearance of permanently damaged teeth without the expense and procedures of dental implants.

Veneers aren’t exactly a teeth whitening method, but rather cover your natural teeth. You and your dentist will choose a tooth color for veneers because you can’twhiten themlater.

Cost:$19,200 on average for a full set of veneers


Pros of Veneers:

  • Can completely change the appearance of yellow teeth

  • Permanent solution for white teeth

Cons of Veneers:

  • Can be prohibitively expensive

  • Do not last forever

  • Require permanent alteration to natural teeth shape (cannot be reversed)

Avoid These Teeth Whitening Methods

Some teeth whitening products and methods are dangerous and/or do not work. As a dentist for 33+ years, I’ve seen some truly concerning results from ineffective or harmful teeth whitening.

Avoid using the below teeth whitening methods:

  • UV, LED, laser, or halogen teeth whitening systems: These light-based whitening products do not improve teeth whitening more than non-UV systems. They can cause tooth sensitivity and potentially devitalize tooth nerves, requiring restorations like root canal therapy or tooth extraction. If your teeth whitening kit comes with a light, throw the light away.

  • Kiosk teeth whitening: Many malls have teeth whitening “kiosks” where untrained people administer teeth whitening products. Companies such as these get around any legal constraints by having consumers themselves place the whitening tray into their mouths. This means that, under the law, they haven’t technically performed a dental procedure and aren’t responsible for the side effects or issues that may result. Avoid these at all costs.

  • Whitening mouthwash: Rinsing with a hydrogen peroxide mouthwash won’t whiten your teeth. Bleaching agents need to be held up against the tooth for several minutes or more to seep into the inner part of the tooth and lead to whiter teeth. There’s not enough peroxide to whiten your teeth, and the agent isn’t against your teeth for long enough. Plus, some hydrogen peroxide rinses and most over-the-counter mouthwashes will harm your oral microbiome.

  • Acidic fruits: Fruits like strawberries, lemons, and pineapples are often touted as great DIY teeth whitening methods. The fruit’s acid wears away the top layer of enamel, revealing whiter enamel underneath. You’ll get moderate tooth whitening results, but at a cost to the health of your teeth. Plus, these DIY methods aren’t as effective at whitening your teeth as other options.

  • Apple cider vinegar: Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is an extremely acidic natural remedy that contains good probiotics that can benefit gut health. However, it’s not a good idea to whiten your teeth with ACV. It will break down your tooth enamel, cause sensitive teeth, and may even lead to tooth decay.

  • Sea salt: While mild-to-moderate abrasives are helpful for whitening teeth, sea salt will physically scratch your teeth if rubbed onto enamel. This is extremely dangerous! Keep the salt for a rinse to treat your toothache, not as a teeth whitening solution.

In Summary: What is the best way to whiten teeth?

The best way to whiten teeth by removing stains is whitening toothpaste and an electric toothbrush. For more dramatic results, the best teeth whitening method is a custom-fitted whitening gel tray.

While many people aim for the sparkliest smile they can achieve,whiterteeth don’t actually equalhealthierteeth. That said, there’s nothing wrong with trying a safe teeth whitening method if you’re not happy with the color of your teeth.

Schedule A Complimentary Consultation Today

Do You Want To Whiten Your Teeth, Fast? - Sherman & Balhoff Orthodontics (4)

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Do You Want To Whiten Your Teeth, Fast? - Sherman & Balhoff Orthodontics (2024)


Are you supposed to whiten your teeth with braces? ›

Once you have stains on your teeth, brushing alone might not brighten your smile. In this case, you might need a whitening agent. The good news is you don't have to remove your braces to get a whiter smile. However, it's usually recommended to whiten teeth after braces.

Which teeth whitening option provides the fastest results? ›

Teeth Whitening Strips

Whitening strips allow the whitening gel to stay on the teeth longer than whitening toothpaste, which means you're more likely to see faster, brighter results.

How much does teeth whitening cost after braces? ›

The most common type of professional teeth whitening is in-office bleaching, which usually costs between $500 and $1,000 per session with a national average of $650 per visit. Laser tooth whitening is another popular option that typically costs an average of $750 per session, varying between $500 and $1,000.

Why do white braces turn yellow? ›

The white ceramic braces themselves do not stain but the elastics that hold the wire to the teeth could potentially stain if a very rich and colourful diet is followed.

Is it OK to have yellow teeth with braces? ›

It is entirely normal for teeth to discolor in the course of teeth straightening. Cleaning your teeth with braces can be tricky, and it is common for plaque to build up around it.

What teeth whitening do the Kardashians use? ›

Kim Kardashian turns her teeth temporarily purple as she promotes the V34 Colour Corrector Serum from the brand HiSmile.

What is the safest teeth whitening method? ›

Custom-fitted trays and in-office treatments are the safest and most effective ways to whiten teeth. ADA-approved over-the-counter toothpastes, gels, and strips are more affordable and convenient options.

Which type of teeth whitening is best? ›

laser teeth whitening is the safest, quickest, and most effective option among the types of teeth-whitening treatments available. However, there are ultimately several ways to whiten teeth, and the most suitable option will depend on your timeline, budget, and priorities, as well as the nature of the discoloration.

Does insurance cover teeth whitening after braces? ›

Teeth whitening is a cosmetic treatment for appearance—not function—so your insurance company will not offer benefits for it. Still bleaching will enhance your straightened teeth after braces and show off your smile. So you might want to pay for it anyway.

How long do teeth last after whitening? ›

Is teeth whitening permanent? Teeth whitening isn't permanent. It can last from a few months to up to 3 years – it varies from person to person. The whitening effect won't last as long if you smoke or drink red wine, tea or coffee, which can all stain your teeth.

Does hydrogen peroxide whiten teeth? ›

Hydrogen peroxide is an inexpensive household product you probably have on hand right now. When used carefully, it can be an effective way to whiten your teeth. But if used incorrectly — in concentrations that are too high or if used too often — it can cause serious and sometimes expensive tooth damage.

Can yellow teeth become white again? ›

What Can Be Done to Whiten Yellow Teeth? If you're looking for a radical change in the coloring of your teeth, you need professional-grade whitening to get the job done. Your cosmetic dentist can provide treatment that penetrates deep into the enamel and removes years of stains with a powerful bleaching agent.

Can old yellow teeth be whitened? ›

It's natural for teeth to appear darker as they age, but a bleaching product with hydrogen peroxide or urea peroxide can help turn back the clock – and a whitening toothpaste is an easy way to get a jump-start.

How do people get their teeth so white? ›

Follow good oral hygiene practices. Brush your teeth at least twice daily, floss at least once daily to remove plaque, and rinse with an antiseptic mouthwash at least once a day to kill bacteria that cause plaque. Use a whitening toothpaste (once or twice a week only) to remove surface stains and prevent yellowing.

Does teeth whitening show immediate results? ›

Most treatments may require more than one session to achieve the sought-after whiteness, however, with most you will notice an almost immediate difference. Home whitening kits – this uses teeth whitening gels or other bleaching agents, applied either directly to the teeth or via a moulding mouth tray.

How fast can a dentist whiten your teeth? ›

Most of the time, we can complete in-office teeth whitening within an hour or two. In some cases, the patient may need a follow-up treatment. It is also important for a patient to understand the process of whitening teeth and why a professional whitening is much more effective than at-home remedies.

What do most dentists use for teeth whitening? ›

Carbamide peroxide and hydrogen peroxide are commonly used in whitening interventions and can readily permeate dental hard tissues. Temporary tooth sensitivity and gingival inflammation are the most common adverse effects of vital tooth whitening.

Does LED light speed up teeth whitening? ›

First, the bleaching agent is applied to your teeth, and an LED light, laser, or halo light is then directed at your teeth. LED lights speed up the tooth-bleaching process by helping the peroxide to break down faster, forming free radicals that whiten the teeth.

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