1. Dentist’s office options: Chairside whitening usually takes one session; your dentist applies a protective gel or a rubber shield to protect your gums, then uses a bleaching agent on your teeth. Special lights and lasers are sometimes used to boost the whitening agent’s effect.
2. DIY options: Over the counter whiteners bleach the tooth enamel. They contain peroxide and are usually applied to a mouth guard, which is then put on your teeth. There are some side effects, like gum irritation or increased tooth sensitivity. So-called white strips are also available. These are applied directly to the teeth once or twice per day and usually take days or weeks to make a difference.
3. Toothpaste: Toothpaste does help remove stains on the surface or your teeth, but their polishing agents and mild abrasives work only on the surface. For long term whitening, consider whitening with an over the counter product or at your dentist’s. Make sure to consult with him or her about whitening before you start.