Many teeth whitening systems are available, including
Teeth whitening is ideal for people who have healthy, unrestored teeth (no fillings) and gums. Individuals with yellow tones to their teeth respond best. But this cosmetic procedure is not recommended for everyone.
All toothpastes help remove surface stains because they have mild abrasives. Some whitening toothpastes contain gentle polishing or chemical agents that provide additional stain removal effectiveness.
Whitening toothpastes can help remove surface stains only and do not contain bleach; over-the-counter and professional whitening products contain hydrogen peroxide (a bleaching substance) that helps remove stains on the tooth surface as well as stains deep in the tooth.
Whitening toothpastes can lighten your tooth's color by about one shade. In contrast, light-activated whitening conducted in your dentist's office can make your teeth three to eight shades lighter.
Over-the-Counter Whitening Strips and Gels
Whitening gels are clear, peroxide-based gels applied with a small brush directly to the surface of your teeth. Instructions generally call for twice a day application for 14 days. Initial results are seen in a few days and final results are sustained for about 4 months. The retail cost for this product is about $15 for a 14-day treatment.
Whitening strips are very thin, virtually invisible strips that are coated with a peroxide-based whitening gel. The strips are applied twice daily for 30 minutes for 14 days. Initial results are seen in a few days and final results are sustained for about 4 months. The retail cost for this product ranges from $10 to $55 for a 14-day treatment.
Tray-Based Tooth Whitening Products
Tray based teeth whitening systems, purchased either over-the-counter or from your dentist, involve filling a mouth guard-like tray with a gel whitening solution which contains a peroxide-bleaching agent and wearing the tray for a period of time, generally from a couple hours a day to every day during the night for up to 4 weeks and even longer (depending on the degree of staining and desired level of whitening).
In-office bleaching provides the quickest and most effective way to whiten teeth. With in-office bleaching, the whitening product is applied directly to the teeth. These products can be used in combination with heat, a special light, and/or a laser. The light and/or heat accelerate the whitening process.
Results are seen in only 1, 30- to 60-minute treatment. But, to achieve dramatic results, several appointments are usually needed. However, with laser-enhanced bleaching, dramatic results can be seen after the first treatment.
How Long Do the Whitening Effects Last?
Whitening is not permanent. People who expose their teeth to foods and beverages that cause staining may see the whiteness start to fade in as little as 1 month. Those who avoid foods and beverages that stain may be able to wait one year or longer before another whitening treatment or touch-up is needed.
The degree of whiteness will vary from individual to individual depending on the condition of the teeth, nature of the stain, the type of bleaching system used and for how long.
Differences between Over-the-Counter At-Home Teeth Whitening Vs. Dentist-Supervised Teeth Whitening Products
Who Should Not Undergo Teeth Whitening?
Whitening is not recommended or will be less successful in the following circumstances:
Risks Associated With Teeth Whitening
The two side effects that occur most often are a temporary increase in tooth sensitivity and mild irritation of the soft tissues of the mouth, particularly the gums. Tooth sensitivity often occurs during early stages of the bleaching treatment. Tissue irritation most commonly results from an ill-fitting mouthpiece tray rather than the tooth-bleaching agent. Both of these conditions usually are temporary and disappear within 1 to 3 days of stopping or completing treatment.
If you do experience sensitivity, you can reduce or eliminate it by:
Some bleaching products dispensed through dentists' offices as well as professionally applied (in-office) bleaching products have received the ADA Seal of Acceptance , which indicates that the product has met ADA guidelines for safety and effectiveness. Currently, only dentist-dispensed home-use products containing 10% carbamide peroxide and office-applied products containing 35% hydrogen peroxide have received the ADA Seal of Acceptance.
Over-the-counter bleaching products are not endorsed by the ADA because the organization believes that professional consultation is important to ensuring safe and effective use. No whitening products using lasers currently are on the ADA's list of accepted products. Several whitening toothpastes that are available over-the-counter have received the ADA Seal of Acceptance. For a list of specific toothpastes that have gained the ADA's Seal of Acceptance.
It should be noted that not all manufacturers seek the ADA's Seal of Acceptance. This is a voluntary program that requires considerable expense and time on the part of a manufacturer. Just because a product does not have the ADA Seal of Acceptance does not necessarily mean that the product is not safe and effective. You can be assured, however, that products that do carry the seal have meet the ADA's standards for safety and effectiveness when used as directed.
Teeth whiteners are not drugs and therefore are not regulated by the FDA.
Tips to Consider When Choosing an Over-the-Counter Whitening Kit: