Teeth whitening or teeth bleaching is essentially the procedure of brightening the shade of the teeth. Teeth whitening is most often desired when teeth turn yellow over time and is accomplished by either changing the natural or extrinsic (substance) color of the teeth’s enamel. It is possible to achieve whiter teeth with the use of teeth whitening products, which are very similar to toothpaste, though they do not bleach teeth directly. There are also other methods of tooth whitening that involve lasers and power bleaches.
Some of these products include Whitening strips and whitening gels, which are applied to the teeth in a dentist’s office. Teeth Whitening Strips These are strips that dissolve in the mouth and are removed after 30 minutes. The amount of peroxide depends on the brand, and they must be used several times a day for up to three months to achieve the desired shade. These can irritate the gums if chewed, so it is important to ensure to always rinse the mouth thoroughly after application.
Teeth Whitening Gels contains triclosan, which acts as a stain fighting agent, bleaching agents such as hydrogen peroxide, and moisturizers to help protect the gums. Common ingredients in these products include hydrogen peroxide, sodium lauryl sulphates (SLS), and glycerin. All of these ingredients are effective at eliminating stains from teeth, although it should be noted that some medications such as certain antibiotics may have an adverse reaction with some of these products. While some of these products are recommended by dentists to maintain healthy teeth, it is still necessary to follow the instructions on the label closely, or improper use may result in more harm than good.
Teeth Whitening Kits Dentists often offers tooth whitening kits which can be used by patients who have sensitive teeth that have undergone dental work. These kits contain a solution which is applied to the tooth, usually twice a day, for the period of about two weeks. This treatment can be completed in a single sitting, although repeated applications can be completed at home if preferred. These tooth bleaching kits can take several weeks to show any significant improvement, and continued usage is strongly encouraged to prevent excessive whitening of teeth.
Teeth Whitening Trays Tooth trays are the most common form of teeth whitening system and are available in different sizes, shapes, and colors. Some tooth trays are placed over the teeth, to act as a shield for the gel, while others are placed under the gums. In order to provide a uniform shade for all users, a tray-based tooth whitening system provides a custom-made, custom-sized bleaching gel tray. This tray is fitted to the mouth of the patient and contains the gel solution which is bleached. One side of the tray has the button type control, whilst the other has a control that opens the bleaching compartment. A tray-based system can take anywhere from one to three weeks to complete.
Teeth Whitening Kits Whilst the above tooth trays may be adequate for some people, they are generally too cumbersome and uncomfortable for extended use. For these, many cosmetic dentists offer ‘whitening gels’ which can be used in a similar way to a tray system. However, a more recent development is to develop ‘surgical bleaching’ for patients who require a longer-term teeth whitening service. Whilst this procedure is far less expensive than the previous two options, it is still considerably more expensive than standard home tooth whitening kits.