Teeth Whitening Kits: Pros and Cons

Should You Use a Teeth Whitening Kit?

You can purchase a teeth-whitening kit at your local drug store, which typically includes pre-filled trays that you mold to your teeth with putty impressions. These kits use hydrogen peroxide to lighten mild stains.

Other at-home options include whitening rinses, toothpastes, and pens that dispense a whitening gel. These typically feature a lower concentration of peroxide and can lighten more stubborn stains.

1. Hydrogen Peroxide

Most over-the-counter whitening products work by expanding the pores in the dentin of your teeth to allow bleaching agent to soak in and lighten them. But if you use these whitening kits long enough to get your teeth significantly lighter, they can also damage your enamel and irritate your gums.

The whitening gel used in most over-the-counter products will contain either hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide, which is a diluted version of the compound. Both can cause temporary sensitivity if the product is applied too frequently or for too long, so it’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and limit your time of application.

At the dentist, a professional whitening treatment typically involves custom-made trays that fit your upper and lower teeth. These trays allow you to apply the whitening gel in short increments throughout the day or overnight. The trays are also made to prevent any excess gel from leaking out of your mouth.

2. Carbamide Peroxide

Carbamide peroxide is a compound of hydrogen peroxide and urea that has many uses for sanitization and whitening. This substance works by dissolving the molecules that give stains their color. It doesn’t bleach teeth, but it is an effective stain remover and can make your smile look brighter.

It’s available in a range of concentrations, from 2.5% to 22%. For teeth whitening, the safest concentration is usually 10%. This is similar to the concentration of whitening gels used in dental offices.

It’s important to use this whitening agent only according to the instructions on the packaging or your dentist. Using too much can lead to sensitive or damaged teeth. Additionally, it’s best to use it only for a short time to avoid sensitivity issues. Tooth whitening products with higher concentrations should only be used under a dentist’s supervision due to the risk of gum irritation and hypersensitivity. This is because the oxidizing agents in these products break down faster.

3. Customizable Trays

If a person does not have custom whitening trays, they can experience gum irritation during the treatment. When a tray does not fit well, it can allow bleaching gel to spill over into the gums and cause sensitivity. This also prevents the whitening gel from reaching all the crevices of the teeth, which can lead to uneven whitening.

Custom whitening trays ensure that the bleaching gel is evenly immersed in the teeth, preventing gaps and other irregularities. It is also important to use the correct amount of whitening gel in the trays. If too much is used, it can cause tooth sensitivity and other side effects.

Smile Brilliant offers several whitening packages based on the staining level of the teeth, and each package includes a specific number of vials of whitening gel. The whitening package also comes with instructions on how to use the teeth whitening kit, and the company provides a satisfaction guarantee. Customers should rinse or brush their teeth after each whitening session to remove any remaining gel.

4. Instructions

Many teeth whitening kits contain oxidizing ingredients like hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide. These bleach both intrinsic and extrinsic stains to make them lighter in color. These whitening products must be used properly to avoid damaging the enamel, which is made of nonliving material and cannot repair itself once it is damaged, according to the American Dental Association (ADA).

Most over-the-counter teeth whitening kits require that patients apply the whitening product to their teeth twice daily for several weeks to see visible results. Whitening sessions at the dentist’s office typically use higher concentrations of whitening chemicals to achieve visible results more quickly.

While a white smile is attractive, it is not a medical necessity. People who have dental implants, veneers or bridges should consult with their dentist to determine if they can safely whiten their natural teeth. Teeth whitening is a cosmetic treatment and is not covered by health insurance. Contact our Simi Valley dentist to learn more about teeth whitening options and treatments.

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