There are many whitening formulas and products available on the market,
from toothpastes, gels, strips and trays, and other agents which you can
easily get at your dentist.
The whitening system is advisable for those who have had no reparations
done on their teeth and gums, eg fillings, etc. Those who have a
yellowish tint on their teeth will see better results but this system is
not appropriate for just anybody.
Let’s see if you fit the band.
Toothpastes contain a mild abrasive that help cleaning the surface of a
tooth. This simple action can be further reinforced by the presence of
some additional polishing substances or some chemically active ones.
These toothpastes can only act on the surface level but they do not
contain bleach for prolonged or in-depth action as opposed to
professional whitening solutions which have the hydrogen peroxide as a
bleaching substance enabling a deeper action in the tooth.
You teeth can get whiter to one level with whitening toothpastes, but
whitening your teeth at the dentist can get you a three to eight level
difference from your actual teeth color.
Over-the-Counter Whitening Strips and Gels
Whitening gels use the peroxide substance to act on the tooth surface.
Since they act by direct exposure on the teeth, you can use a brush to
perform this procedure. Normally such system are advisable for a
bi-daily use over a 14 day period. Visible results appear within a few
days and can be sustained for as long as 4 months. Such product is
available at the approximate price of $15.
Strips are almost invisible due to their thinness, but have a light
coating of peroxide gel on them. If applied for 30 minutes twice a day
on a 14 day period they give visible results in a few days. Their
results can be prolonged for approximately 4 months. These are available
for a price ranging between $10 - $55.
Tray-Based Tooth Whitening Products
These products are easily available in any outlets or through your
dentist. The trays are filled with the whitening solutions and placed in
the mouth to make contact with the teeth, using as whitening agent: the
peroxide element.. The tray should be worn for a definite time lapse,
say around 1 hour everyday for a period of around 4 weeks or more
depending on the required result and the amount of stain to be removed.
Your dentist can give you valuable information on the differences of
whitening systems available in shops as compared to those professionally
designed systems available at dentists.
The quickest way to white teeth is the In-Office Whitening package. A
very effective method of bleaching where, the whitening agent is in
direct contact with the teeth. Combined effect of heat, special light or
laser will enhance the results through accelerated process. Visible
results appear within hour or even minutes. For such spectacular
results, several sessions are required, but with laser enhanced
technology the first treatment gives a satisfactory result.
Such program may cost around $200 - $ 500 par arch or reach the $1000
for the entire mouth.
How Long Do the Whitening Effects Last?
Definitely this is not a lifetime result producing system. If you
persist with harmful products like tobacco or wine you may see the
result disappear within 1 month, but by avoiding these harmful elements,
you can sustain the whiteness for one year or above before needing
another whitening process.
Whiteness level is also determined differently depending on a
case-to-case basis as each people’s teeth is not affected by the same
level or source of stain. The method to be used also takes into account
the required amount of time the person desires the effect to last.
Over-the-Counter At-Home Teeth Whitening Vs. Dentist-Supervised Teeth
A number of differences exist between the two of them, namely:
• The bleaching agent’s strength. Normally a lighter level of bleaching
agent is contained in products available over-the-counter and it may
situate around 10% of carbamide peroxide, or an equivalent of 3%
hydrogen peroxide or at times reach the 22% of carbamide peroxide. On
the other side, professional whitening product may contain up to 43% of
carbamide peroxide to be applied under the strict eye of the dentist.
• Mouthpiece trays. The dentist can provide a very precise impression of
your teeth and produce a customized tray which will exactly fit your
mouth. With this kind of assurance, whitening gel can have direct
contact with the teeth through the professionally made mouthpiece. The
commonly available mouthpieces in shops are manufactured to fit standard
sizes and are not specifically designed for your mouth implying that
they will not exactly fit your mouth. This causes imprecise application
of the gel which in turn can irritate the gums as the gel slips out of
its normal path. In-Office procedures allow the gel to make contact
directly and solely with the teeth.
• Additional protective measures. In this method the dentist protects
the gum with another gel or uses a shield, sliding it over the teeth as
protection against bleaching agents. This kind of security is not
available in standard bleaching packages available over-the-counter.
• Costs. Over-the-counter products are obviously cheaper with price
range around $20 to $150. Under your dentist supervision, you may get a
treatment for a price range of $150 - $300 per arch or $300-$600 for the
• Supervised vs. unsupervised process. Getting a dentist’s supervision
provides another level of safety in the process. The Dentist is a
professionally competent person who can diagnose your mouth completely
coming up with a precise indication as regards your exact requirements.
The causes of stains and its appropriate treatment will be determined in
a more professional manner. You will also obtain professional indication
on the frequency and level of treatment required for restoration. He
also provides a better follow-up of the whole mechanism and with a
couple of sessions he may ascertain whether the treatment is going in
the right direction or take corrective actions in case of side-effects
or other mishaps. You will not accede to such facilities if you are
using over-the-counter systems and you will be left on you own to
Who Should Not Undergo Teeth Whitening?
It is not advisable to undertake whitening procedures under these
• Age and pregnancy issues. Here whitening is not available for those
under 16 years of age as the nerve of the teeth is large at this stage
of life. It could render the nerve more sensitive or cause irritation.
Pregnant or lactating women are also not advised to use this method.
• Sensitive teeth and allergies. Those having sensitive teeth or gums,
with receding or defective repairs need to see their dentist before
engaging a whitening process. Allergies to peroxide will definitely not
be favored with a bleaching product
• Gum disease, damaged teeth, cavities, and exposed roots. People with
damaged teeth or worn enamel are not advised to use any bleaching
method. A bleaching agent might enter any cavity and cause an inside
damage. Hence it is necessary to treat such defects before launching
into a whitening session. Bleaching does not work on roots also since
they do not have the enamel layer on which bleaching acts. .
• Fillings, crowns and restored portions. Dental restorations sometimes
make use of colored fillings or resign based products (crowns, veneers,
bridges) and these do not whiten with bleaching. So an unequal whitening
pattern may appear if bleaching is applied under these conditions. It is
better to proceed with whitening before attempting any restoration
exercise on the teeth. Your dentist is the best person to advise on the
method of treatment applicable in such cases, and confirming whether any
importance is to be given to the bleaching or restoration exercise..
• Those expecting dramatic happenings may be disappointed with results
below their expectations. People using harmful products like tobacco and
wine need to be aware that the result may not stay for longer periods if
they do not avoid such products. A more balanced expectation taking into
consideration one’s own lifestyle and hygiene pattern would give a more
objective approach to the results’ appreciation. A good standard
indication is comparison of color of your teeth should be a little
whiter than that of your eyes.
• Heavily stained teeth. A light yellowish tint will definitely
disappear under bleaching; less effective results would appear on brown
tinted ones where as grayish or purple stained ones may not reveal any
effect. Certain blue-gray stains which, are normally caused by
tetracycline take even more time to whiten and require around 6 month of
intensive care at the dentist’s. Darker stains may be appropriately
treated by other methods, for example: veneers, crowns, bonding, etc.
Your dentist can give you precious advice on this.
Risks Associated With Teeth Whitening
Two undesired effects noted are a higher sensitivity in the teeth or
some kind of irritation of the gums or other tissues of the mouth.
Sensitivity is noticed at the beginning of bleaching process whereas
irritation of soft tissues mainly come from wrong fitting of trays
rather that from the bleaching agent itself. These effects disappear a
couple of days after the treatment ends.
You can reduce an sensitivity using the following methods:
• Do not use the tray for long periods. Shorten the use period if you
encounter sensitivity problems.
• Stop the whitening process for some days and let your teeth adapt
itself with the whitening system.
• See you dentist for a product with high-fluoride content. It will
restore the mineral level of your teeth if applied to the tray for
around 4 minutes before applying the bleaching agent.
• Use toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth to brush. They normally
contain potassium nitrate, which will relieve your nerve endings.
The ADA seal of acceptance has been issued to some bleaching products
available at the dentists’. Same security can sometimes be found on
professionally used bleaching products (In-office). Meeting the ADA
standards for safety and effectiveness is a remarkable security for
users. These are strict seals currently available only in products
having a 10% carbamide peroxide destined for home use whereas
office-applied products with a 35% hydrogen peroxide content have
receive d this seal as compared to over-the-counter products which do
not bear this sort of guarantee. ADA believes that teeth whitening
treatment should be done under dentist supervision only and therefore
they did not give their support to over-the-counter products. Similar
opinion has been declared by ADA on laser-based treatment. However,
several whitening toothpaste do bear this endorsement.
It is also good to learn that ADA acceptance is not an obligation or
even objective for many a manufacturer given the amount of time and
effort it requires. Not bearing the ADA’s seal does not imply that the
product in unsafe or ineffective but such seal nonetheless provide
additional comfort to the user who understands that at least an
organization’s standards has been officially met.
Teeth whiteners are not drugs and therefore are not regulated by the
How to effectively choose an over-the-counter package.
• Get a preference for packages that allow some kind of customization of
the mouthpiece – some are moldable at some extent. Standard mouthpiece
should be avoided when possible.
• Seek the opinion of people who might have tried the brand you are
• Do no hesitate to contact your dentist if you feel any irritation or
discomfort in the appearance or feel of your teeth. Increased
sensitivity to cold or hot foods should be reported to the dentist and
the mouthpiece should be removed on the spot.