How to Get Whiter Teeth

Do you feel self-conscious about the brightness of your smile? You’re not alone. Whether you struggle with stains or yellowing teeth, many patients are interested in getting a whiter smile; in a 2012 survey by the Academy of Cosmetic Dentists, most respondents indicated wanting whiter, brighter teeth. But with so many over-the-counter treatments and professional teeth whitening services available, it can be hard to know which solution will work best for you.

At DGY Dentistry Ann Arbor, we employ an artistic and compassionate approach to maximize your outward appearance and overall confidence. When it comes to teeth whitening, our Ann Arbor dentists use an impression of the patient’s teeth to create custom trays to hold the whitening gel. Unlike “one size fits all” at-home whitening kits, our professional teeth whitening services ensure the tray fits properly on the teeth and provides the best possible results.

We pride ourselves on clearly communicating your treatment options with no-pressure consultations and transparent payment options. Our convenient location on E. Eisenhower Parkway makes it easy for patients in Washtenaw County and the surrounding Southeast Michigan area to reach our Ann Arbor dental practice.

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Here are some of your other options for finding teeth whitening near you:

What Causes Yellow Teeth?

Genetics, age, and poor oral hygiene can all contribute to the yellowing of teeth. Smoking and chewing tobacco are common culprits, and some food and drink — such as coffee and wine — can create stains.

How to Whiten Teeth: Common Methods and Products

There are many ways you can whiten your teeth. The best option for you will depend on your budget and teeth whitening goals. 

Professional Teeth Whitening Services

The most noticeable and long-lasting results will come from professional teeth whitening services. Unlike the “one size fits all” approach of other methods, dentists can use impressions of the patient’s teeth to create custom trays for whitening. A whitening gel is put in the tray and used for 45 minutes daily. Patients can expect to see improvement after 7-10 days of use. 

If you are a new patient, your dentist will likely want to consult with you before teeth whitening to determine if you are a good candidate based on the overall coloration of your teeth. Our Ann Arbor dentists are experienced in cosmetic dentistry and can help patients achieve their desired smiles.

At-Home Teeth Whitening Kits

Teeth whitening kits typically include a one-size mold or plastic strips with a peroxide-based bleaching agent that can be applied to the teeth. Most kits require an application for 30-60 minutes a day over 2-3 weeks and usually cost anywhere between $15-60.

Because it is not a custom mold, these over-the-counter kits may not fit properly on the teeth and/or cause gum irritation. Always read the directions carefully, as requirements vary from kit to kit.

Teeth Whitening Toothpaste

Teeth whitening toothpaste usually includes a whitening ingredient like hydrogen peroxide or silica and produces the best results after several weeks of twice-daily use. Although these products are less expensive than teeth whitening kits (roughly $6-15), they only remove surface-level stains.

The ingredients in whitening toothpaste can be abrasive and may cause sensitivity. Users should be aware of any sensitivity and choose a formula with fluoride, which helps protect the teeth. 


Like whitening toothpaste, teeth-whitening mouthwashes are used once or twice a day over several weeks to remove surface-level stains by using a low dose of teeth-whitening agent. You can find many brands offering options at $8-15 a bottle. 

As with toothpaste, make sure you choose a mouthwash with fluoride. 

What is the Best Way to Whiten Teeth?

In terms of effectiveness, we would recommend professional teeth whitening. Although it can be more expensive than other options, professional teeth whitening treatments tend to use a higher concentration of bleaching product than over-the-counter teeth whitening kits and therefore produce better results.

According to the American Dental Association (ADA), teeth whitening toothpaste and mouthwashes can help remove stains on the surface of teeth. Still, a bleaching product like carbamide and hydrogen peroxide is needed to reach internal stains below the enamel. These can be bought over the counter, from your dentist, or administered in the office.

A dentist will be able to evaluate the coloration of your teeth and determine the best solution.

How Much Does Teeth Whitening Cost?

The cost of professional teeth whitening can vary depending on the type of teeth whitening service, your location, and the dentist administering treatment. Teeth whitening is typically not covered by insurance because it is considered cosmetic dentistry.

At DGY Dentistry, we pride ourselves on clearly communicating your choices with no-pressure consultations and transparent payment options. 

Is Teeth Whitening Safe?

Teeth whitening is considered safe. According to the American Dental Association, a “systematic review completed by Hasson et al. reported that tooth sensitivity and gingival irritation were the most common adverse effects of whitening.” This irritation and sensitivity usually resolves “shortly after the end of treatment.”

The ADA notes that gingival irritation is usually caused by “poor fitting trays or improper application of the protective barrier or gel.”

How Long Does Teeth Whitening Last?

Professional teeth whitening results typically last between 12 and 24 months, depending on home care and regular preventative visits.

How to Maintain Teeth Whitening Results

Teeth-staining food, drink, and tobacco can cause faster fading. Most people will want to “boost” the whitening yearly.

Professional Teeth Whitening Services Near You

DGY Dentistry Ann Arbor provides professional teeth whitening services in Ann Arbor, Michigan. 

Our dentists take the time to understand each patient’s preferences and help them achieve their desired smile, whether it’s a natural or a bold, ultra-white look. 

Our dentists are highly experienced and known for having the technical and artistic talent to achieve high-quality, aesthetic dentistry.

To learn more about our approach to teeth whitening and other cosmetic dentistry, contact us today or request an appointment to get started.

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