Stained teeth can be remedied with a number of treatments, including several over-the-counter whitening systems, whitening toothpastes, and the latest high-tech option: laser tooth whitening. Supervised bleaching procedures that are done in-office (using a light or heat source to expedite the bleaching process) and at-home bleaching treatments have become among the most popular whitening options.
If you're getting an in-office treatment, typically, an oral health care professional gets the procedure started during an office visit and then sends you off to complete it in the comfort of your own home. A third option of whitening is done entirely at home, however, it is important to note that overuse of over-the-counter home bleaching products can wear away tooth enamel, particularly solutions that contain acid. For optimal whitening, experts agree that peroxide administered by a dentist or at-home is most effective in bleaching stains caused by age, tobacco, coffee, and tea.
Based on clinical studies, 96 percent of patients with these kinds of stains experience some lightening effect. Often called night guard vital bleaching, at-home procedures consist of placing a bleaching solution (a peroxide mixture) into a previously custom-fitted tray or "night guard". The bleaching solutions may vary in potency and may be worn from one hour to an entire night, depending on the severity of stains.