Teeth whitening is an option for people who would like to have whiter teeth or remove stains that destroy the appearance of the teeth. There are several teeth whitening options available, starting from the in office bleaching to the whitening toothpastes that can be used on a daily basis.
1. In Office Bleaching
The in office bleaching, also known as power bleaching or chair-side bleaching, is the safest teeth whitening option. The procedure is performed by a professional that is trained in teeth whitening, and there are practically no risks involved in the procedure.
The in office bleaching may be performed in various ways, but most commonly a tray with a bleaching agent (hydrogen peroxide) will be placed on the teeth and laser light will be used to speed up the whitening procedure. The entire procedure may take between 30 to 60 minutes and the results are visible immediately. An in office bleaching can whiten the teeth by three to eight shades.
2. Whitening at Home
There are several variants available for at home bleaching:
- Whitening strips contain hydrogen peroxide and will be applied on the teeth for a period of time (typically 30 minutes or as indicated by the manufacturer), twice per day. Typically the strips will be applied daily for up to 30 days.
- Whitening gels, also hydrogen peroxide based products, will be applied with a small brush on the teeth and the treatment will be required twice per day for two weeks.
- Bleaching trays, which can be purchased over the counter or supervised by your dentist, will be applied for four weeks and will also contain a bleaching agent; the tray should be worn for a couple of hours per day or overnight.
The whitening at home kits may whiten teeth by three to five shades, as they contain lower concentrations of bleaching agents. The results of these whitening solutions are visible starting from week 2 of the treatment and will last for up to six months. The at home whitening solutions are cheaper than an in office bleaching, but there are risks involved if the products are not properly used. Most specialists recommend consulting a dentist prior to choosing a teeth whitening solution for at home use.
3. Whitening Toothpastes
The whitening toothpastes are the cheapest teeth whitening option and can be used daily. However, the whitening toothpastes available on the market only contain a very low amount of bleaching agents (i.e. hydrogen peroxide), which have an abrasive effect and may only remove the stains that are present on the surface of the teeth. The deeper stains cannot be removed, so this solution may not work for all patients.
The effects of a whitening toothpaste cannot be compared to the effects of a professional bleaching, not even if the toothpaste is used all the time. Typically, whitening toothpastes can whiten teeth by one shade only.