teeth whiteningWhen that reunion is fast approaching, many patients at Dental Associates of West MI ask if there is a simple, quick way to achieve a fresher, younger smile. Does this qualify as an emergency dental issue? Well, not exactly, but for many people a bright, fresh smile can provide a huge boost of confidence. The question is how to accomplish that whiter smile quickly, safely, and effectively.

If you ask any dentist Grand Rapids has seen a boom in teeth whitening since the early 2000s. A few main whitening options have evolved.

  • “At home” whitening products include whitening rinses, gum, whitening toothpaste, gel strips, and whitening trays. These home whitening products can be at least somewhat successful, especially if your teeth are in excellent condition. Over time they can make a noticeable difference of a few shades and result in a more youthful appearance. The downside of home whitening products is that they normally take longer than office treatments. More importantly, there is a risk of gum irritation, root damage, tooth sensitivity, or damage to existing dental work.
  • “In office” whitening treatment is a quicker method of whitening your teeth with a dentist’s assistance. The dentist applies a strong bleaching agent using a custom tray that targets only the darkened teeth. Sometimes a laser light is used to accelerate the whitening. Due to the strength of the bleaching agent, whitening occurs very quickly. However, the downside is that the treatment increases tooth sensitivity, so Dental Associates of West MI no longer practices this option.
  • There actually is a third option that is sort of a combination of both approaches. Once your needs have been evaluated, you can whiten your teeth at home under your dentist’s supervision, with a professional whitening kit customized for your whole mouth. That gives you the option to perform your own whitening, yet with the faster, better results of professional grade treatments and a comfortable, custom tray made in our office.


The best way to lighten your tooth stains depends on what caused them – foods like coffee and tea, age, medications, genetics, or something else. Dental Associates of West MI can advise you whether the stains on your teeth can be removed, and what method would work best. If you have sensitive teeth, gum disease, or worn enamel, your dentist may even discourage it. And if you have the type of discoloration that doesn’t respond to bleaching, your dentist should be able to explain what other cosmetic options are available, from veneers to dental bonding.

When you’d like a whiter, brighter, healthier smile, you have options. Even if you decide to whiten your teeth with a home bleaching option, be sure to keep your dentist in the loop. For more information about teeth whitening at Dental Associates of West MI, contact us.

Photo: Michael

Leave a Comment