Professional bleaching procedures are the best and safest way to achieve a whiter smile. For one thing, dentists can see if you have any cavities or decayed fillings – bleaching agents can cause excruciating pain if they get into cavities. They can also gauge the level and type of discoloration you may have and then design the appropriate procedure that best fits your time and habits. For example, they may send you home with a custom-made tray system if you don't want to stick around for in-office bleaching. Some dental clinics also offer light- or heat-activated treatments that supposedly cut down the necessary bleaching time. "However, there is conflicting evidence on the effects of bleaching lights on tooth color change," says Dr. Plotino. Dentists can also help you plan for the inevitable whitening rebound, where your teeth become a tad duller a few weeks after you bleach them. While on that subject, our experts said that power toothbrushes, such as Sonicare, are better than manual toothbrushes at maintaining bright teeth after bleaching treatments.
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