According to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, 96 percent of respondents surveyed believe an attractive smile makes a person more appealing. But if your discolored teeth are keeping you tight-lipped, you may want to consider teeth-whitening treatments options provided by

No. 1: Laser Bleaching at the Dentist’s Office

Laser teeth whitening can be performed in one office visit, generally with three 20-minute bleaching treatments.

No. 2: Professional Bleaching Trays

Another professional teeth-whitening option your dentist may offer is bleaching trays. With this method, your dentist will use an impression of your teeth to design custom bleaching trays that perfectly fit your teeth. At home, you’ll use a special bleaching solution in these trays daily for one to two weeks.

No. 3: Over-The-Counter Teeth-Whitening Kits

Today, there are many types of over-the-counter teeth-whitening products available. Strips are recommended because you’re less likely to swallow bleach or damage your gums with these products. While the bleaching solution used in over-the-counter products may be too mild to yield dramatic results or to whiten severely stained teeth, these products may help whiten mildly discolored teeth, especially in younger people since their enamel is stronger and less easily stained.

Making Your Decision

When weighing your options and deciding whether to undergo a teeth-whitening treatment, consider the following:

Cost. Professional teeth-whitening treatments generally cost $500 to $1,200, depending on the option you choose. At-home teeth whitening kits cost anywhere from $15 to $50.

Maintenance. Teeth-whitening treatments don’t last forever, and most people need to get touch-ups. At-home professional whitening trays to last 6 to 12 months and over-the-counter whitening to last 3 to 6 months. People who smoke and regularly consume food and beverages that can discolor teeth, such as coffee, tea, and blueberries, can expect their results to fade more quickly. “

Risks to dental health. The biggest risk is sensitivity to hot and cold. Usually short-term, but it can be quite uncomfortable.

Talk with your dentist about your teeth-whitening options. He or she can assess the condition of your teeth and your overall dental health to help you determine the best option for you.