In general there are three methods available
Over-the-counter whitening gels
Bleaching system based on the tray method (over-the-counter)
Tray system under dentists’ supervision
In office bleaching, also known as chair side or power bleaching
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.
Whitening gels are clear gels based on the peroxide element that can be
applied using a small brush on the surface of your teeth. 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.
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 peroxide element is available in both kinds of products but still is
kept at a lower percentage than those found in products available at
your dentist’s. Obviously the results will be less spectacular than what
is expected under the care of a dentist, but whitening occurs! With an
over-the-counter product you do not get access to expert diagnosis or
advice of a professional dentist, however. So there’s no proper followup
of the effects, or side-effects if it arises. The main appealing
features of this type of whitening products are their cheap price (from
around $10 to $55) as compared to a professional care which may take you
up to $800.
Tray-Based Tooth Whitening Products
These can be purchased anywhere or at your dentist’s. Their procedures
requires the filling of a mouth-guard tray with a gel containing a
bleaching agent, normally a peroxide based solution. 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.
Bleaching systems used by professional dentists are slightly different
to that which is done at home. They use protective shield to ensure that
gels do not slip out of their normal path to access your gums or others
soft tissues. With this method, the bleaching agent is only in contact
with your teeth, that is, doing solely what it is require to do. The
whitening process can further be accelerated or launched through special
light, heat or laser use. The question to follow will answer some other
differences that exists.