With all the options for teeth whitening, one of the most common questions I get from my patients is if professional tooth whitening is right for them and how does that compare with home whitening. My answer is “it depends”. Let’s look at this a little deeper.
Everyone loves white teeth. Historically and evolutionarily, clean, strong and white teeth have been one of the first indicators of a person’s health, fitness and beauty. The surest way to keep your teeth healthy and white is good diet, hygiene and regular visits to your family dentist.
However, even with regular cleaning and good hygiene we find ourselves with discolored teeth. Sometimes this is not even an indicator of bad hygiene or poor health. Our everyday food including coffee, tea and the occasional red wine will cause staining of teeth. This over a period of time can make our teeth appear less white and more yellow.
Science behind Whitening Products
There are two fundamental techniques used for whitening.
Bleaching uses chemicals, primarily peroxides, to change the tooth color. Bleaching products contain peroxide(s) that help remove deep (intrinsic) and surface (extrinsic) stains
Non-bleaching products use physical/abrasive or other chemical action that just work on removing the stains. They do not change the color of the teeth, just removes the stain – big difference.
How’s the Home Whitening product different than Professional Whitening?
Almost all the professional whitening products are high concentration of bleaching agents. Since your dental professional is trained to handle the chemicals in the very small area within your mouth, the agents can be of very high concentration of peroxides ranging from 25% to 40%. Some of the more intensive procedures also use LED lightening that is believed to improve and fasten the process.
Home products can range in different science for
producing results. Standard whitening products like toothpastes are mostly non-bleaching and work directly on stains. Over the counter bleaching agents are of lesser concentration and designed to be safer for the inexperienced users. They usually work over a few weeks compared to an hours at your dental office.
To summarize and recommend,
Beautiful smile begins with strong teeth and healthy gums. Don’t forget to brush and floss twice everyday. If you haven’t seen your dentist for your periodic cleaning, start there.
Whitening toothpastes do work. If you feel your teeth to be little bit off color to your liking, go ahead and use an OTC whitening paste or other physical whiteners for four to five weeks. If you want product recommendations, don’t hesitate to call Dr.Raji’s office
On special occasions, Job interviews or weddings, splurge with professional whitening. You may also go for professional whitening once every few years, when the home whitening can’t keep up.
We personally do not have great experience with OTC bleaching agents to be used at home. While they are ADA approved and deemed safe, they can be messy and the results are inconsistent. We’ve seen a few of our patients with gum burns from exposure to chemicals