Teeth whitening is more than just a fad, it is a multi-billion dollar industry that will spend more than 10 million Americans this year more than $2 billion (estimate). Teeth whitening is by far the most common cosmetic service offered by dentists across America, and the growth of mail order and over-the-counter products has increased massively.
But are bright white teeth really accessible? Is tooth whitening safe? Does it hurt? Which is the best method? Can you do it at home? These are all very common questions, and in general you will find the answers to these questions: Yes, yes, yes, not normal, (probably) money laundering, yes.
Whiter teeth can be obtained with a number of different methods, both at the dentist (or in the professional dental office) and at home. In fact, many dentists actually perform the first one or two treatments and then have everything prepared so that you can recover at home. But it’s about “bleaching” methods, there are other ways you can go in search of whiter teeth that require structural changes to your teeth, such as “bonding” and “porcelain veneers”.
Bleach-based tooth whitening products all have the same goal: to penetrate deep into the enamel to remove stains. Enamel is porous, so brushes and abrasives don’t work, and that’s where lead-based tooth whitening products come in. As you can see, the most effective methods are using bleaching chemicals to penetrate deep into the enamel. They trigger an oxidation process that dissolves the dyes in the enamel and leaves you with bright white teeth. It sounds simple, but there are many products on the market that don’t keep their promises. Most over-the-counter products never achieve marginal teeth whitening, while more professional products can cause extreme changes in the whiteness of your teeth.
The entry-level product for tooth whitening would be a tooth whitening paste. Some people have shown a slight improvement in brightness, but since toothpaste is not exposed to teeth for very long (you only brush for a few minutes), they are usually unable to penetrate deep enough to achieve a significant effect. Some toothpastes actually contain very strong chemicals that are designed to act quickly (depending on the short time they are exposed to your teeth), and instead of working to penetrate the enamel and oxidize/clean the stains, they can actually act as an abrasive that attacks the enamel.
Then we have bleach strips. Bleaching strips are thin, flexible plastic parts covered on one side with a thin film of hydrogen peroxide bleach (usually 6 to 10% strength). They are pressed against the upper and lower teeth and must generally be worn for 30 minutes (twice a day) for 7-14 days. They work, but since they cannot penetrate all corners, angles and spaces between teeth, the results can sometimes be spotted and less desirable than expected.
To be even more serious, we have tooth whitening products based on bleach that consist of placing a tray in the mouth that has been injected with a “bleaching” solution (hydrogen peroxide). This procedure can be done at home or by your dentist, or by a combination of dentist/home. You can buy over-the-counter baking and biting trays that are almost ready to use from the packaging at a low price. You cook the tray to make it hot and malleable, place it in your mouth and bite into it. The end result is a “partially” ready to use tray. The disadvantage of this type of gutter is that it does not fit properly, resulting in inconsistent results and bleaching gel leaks into the mouth and gums. Bleach leaks into the mouth are not desirable for obvious reasons, and smears on/around the gums can cause temporary (and even long-term) bleaching of the gums.
Professional systems will see how you are equipped with an individually adjusted tray that is essential to ensure correct bleaching and consistent results. Using a custom tray will almost certainly reduce leaks in your mouth and gums. Custom gutters can be purchased directly from your dentist or from various online specialists who have a custom gutter kit. With this type of system, you actually get all the elements you need to make an impression of your teeth so you can make your own custom stray trays. In principle, you make a good impression with the items provided, place them in the pre-addressed packaging envelope and send them. You manufacture your individual bleaching trays in a certified laboratory and send them back within 2 to 7 business days……………. all you have to do is put the gel in the bowl and put it in your mouth for the recommended times.
The most important part of a tooth whitening system is the gel used. You may have an expensive and customized mouthpiece, but if you don’t have the right tooth whitening gel, you will spend too much time with the mouthpiece in your mouth and your results will not be as expected. To understand the differences between whitening gels and why they are considered the best tooth whiteners, it is best to understand what they are and what they actually do.
Most gels contain either carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide, and some contain fillers and flavours. Carbamide peroxide actually decomposes into hydrogen peroxide in the mouth. Hydrogen peroxide is the active bleach (it is the same substance that whitens your hair). The difference between most gels is the power of the peroxide. Most gels today are around 15% and above, with some of the most popular gels around 22%. The strength of the peroxide will obviously play a decisive role in how long you leave the tray in your mouth, and the sensitivity of your teeth can play an important role in choosing the force to use. But when you say that, it’s not the strength of the peroxide that usually causes the sensitivity, but the time the teeth are exposed to the chemical. As a result, some people prefer to choose a higher concentration (e.g., 22%), but use it for a shorter period of time. They can also achieve higher resistances such as 35%, but they are only recommended for short periods of maintenance, perhaps monthly for periods of 15 to 30 minutes.
Other types of professional tooth whitening are gluing and porcelain shells. Both are real structural changes in your teeth. Bonding is a composite material that is applied to teeth to change their color and shape. The resin can discolour and flake over time. Gluing can generally be done in one go for $300 to $700 per tooth. Porcelain shells are shell-shaped veneers that can be glued to colored teeth. They are used for forming and stamping.