Achieving whiter teeth and a brighter smile is a goal for many people, especially for those who are in the smoking population and who also drink plenty of coffee. These habits, including neglect of teeth can lead to yellowing and discoloration. Whitening the teeth can be achieved by bleaching, which will actually change the natural color of the teeth. Bleaching products contain peroxide as well, which can help remove deep stains and those present on the outer surface. There are also non-bleaching products intended for the same purpose of whitening, but rely more on their chemical action to physically remove the stains on the surface, not meant for deeper whitening.
How are teeth whitening products administered?
There are many over the counter products that can be found and are usually categorized as either peroxide/ bleaching agents and others are known as dentifrices, or whitening toothpastes. These are products that a person may use as directed in their own homes in their own time. There are also dentist-dispensed products that a person may use at home containing whitening bleaches that are approved with the ADA Seal of Acceptance. Most of these products contain a 10 percent concentration of carbamide peroxide used for whitening. There are also other whitening options for home use from a dentist which include whitening gels that are placed in mouth trays made specifically for that person’s teeth. A visit to the dentist is required beforehand to make a model of the teeth and have the trays made exclusively for that one person. Along with these home options are paint on materials that will gradually whiten with use, and bleaching strips.
Professionally applied whitening products
There are also options for those who would rather have a professional administer bleaching products. In a dentist office, the concentration of the formulas given usually contain a much higher concentration of hydrogen peroxide, usually between 25-40 percent.
So now that you have an idea of what kinds of whitening products and techniques there are to whiten your teeth, you are probably wondering what are the risks? First and foremost, whitening at a dentist’s office is always the safest approach. Consulting with your dentist after a checkup can determine what type of whitening method may be best suited for you. Dentist supervised procedures can employ methods used specifically to whiten your teeth without damaging your gum lines. Often, the dentist will place a rubber dam around the teeth before your whitening process to protect your gums. Your dentist can also supervise your whitening process and make sure products are not left on too long.
Most problems occur with people using over the counter products incorrectly. Some bleaching trays that are inserted into the mouth for whitening may be left in too long, causing serious chemical burns to the gums, or the trays may not fit properly and leak. A few cases of people reported to have swallowed the bleaching products accidentally has also occurred, causing them to become very ill.
In any event, extreme caution should be taken into consideration before using any over the counter whitening products, and when in doubt, it is always best to contact your dentist for the best possible advice.