Teeth Whitening Products - Secrets To A Brighter Smile
Every year, Americans spend billions on teeth whitening products. It's money well spent. Bright, white smiles are important. In fact, they are essential. Research shows that a nice smile opens doors for you both personally and professionally. A survey published by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry found that 99.7 percent of adults believe a smile is an important social asset. Even more telling was that nearly three-quarters of respondents said an unattractive smile actually hurt a person's chances for success. The survey also asked, "What would you most like to improve about your smile?" The most common response? "Make it whiter and brighter." With research like this, it's not surprising tooth whitening products are so popular.
There are three major approaches to dental teeth whitening: dentist-supervised in-office treatments, dentist-dispensed at-home treatments, and over-the-counter (OTC) treatments. Though there are significant differences between teeth whitening products and treatments, they all pretty much work on the same basic principle. A solution containing hydrogen peroxide and/or carbamide peroxide is used to bleach the teeth. The differences lie in the strength of the whitening solutions, the length of treatment and the manner in which whiteners are applied and activated.
Many dentist-dispensed and OTC tooth whitening products carry the American Dental Association's (ADA) Seal of Approval. Research shows that many people can use teeth whitening kits without experiencing problems. The most common side-effects associated with dental teeth whitening are tooth sensitivity and gum irritation. Both of these symptoms typically appear early in the treatment and disappear over time. Though problems are rare, the ADA recommends that you consult with your dentist or cosmetic dentist before beginning to use any teeth whitening system.
In-Office Tooth Whitening Products
Dentists are experts in the art and science of teeth whitening. Consumer reviews show that in-office chair-side whitening is faster, more effective and longer lasting that any other teeth whitening product or treatment. In-office bleaching, sometimes called power teeth whitening, typically requires one or more visits to the dentist's office or a dentist-supervised whitening center. Appointments can take anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours. Dramatic results -- up to 10 shades lighter -- are usually visible after your first dentist visit.
There are two reasons why chair-side whitening is so successful in brightening smiles: chemistry and physics. The chemistry portion of the equation involves using whitening gels containing significantly higher concentrations of peroxide, typically 25-30 percent solutions, than are available with at-home teeth whitening kits. They work faster and better.
Physics come in to play with the tool used to activate the whiteners: dental lasers. A key component of chair-side dental teeth whitening since the late 1990s, lasers unleash the full bleaching power of whitening gels. After carefully applying the whitening gel to your teeth, your dentist will use an argon laser to activate the peroxide solution. The light from the laser speeds up the release of oxygen from the peroxide. The subsequent chemical reaction removes stains and brightens your teeth.
Some of the most popular laser teeth whiteners include:
BriteSmile® -- The BriteSmile brand laser teeth whitening system combines a one-time, one hour office appointment with two follow-up at home treatments. This popular teeth whitening product can lighten teeth up to 14 shades in some instances.
Zoom!® Chair-side Whitening System -- Made famous by celebrity dentist Dr. William Dorfman, Zoom! is one of the best known laser-based tooth whitening products. Ideal for patients with sensitive teeth, Zoom! requires three 15-minute treatment sessions. The average Zoom! patient's teeth are lightened eight shades.
While in-office dental teeth whitening is more expensive than using a dentist-directed or OTC teeth whitening system, it is a very cost-effective option. Power whitening treatments can last for years with proper oral hygiene. Most dental insurance plans do not cover teeth whitening; however, many dentists offer convenient payment plans.
Dentist-Dispensed Teeth Whitening Kits
Dentist-dispensed take-home teeth whiteneing kits are preferred by a growing number of people. One reason for their popularity is that the whitening formulations used are stronger and faster working than the maximum 6 percent peroxide solution available in OTC teeth whitening products. Another advantage is that, unlike in-office dental treatments, they let you brighten your smile when it's convenient for you.
The majority of dentist-prescribed teeth whiteners use gels, which are mixed in whitening trays that are custom fitted to your teeth. The mouth guard-like trays are them worn on the teeth for a prescribed period of time, anywhere from 30 minutes to overnight. Some of the most widely prescribed at-home teeth whitening kits include:
DayWhite® -- A popular choice for busy people who can't be bothered to invest a good part of their day or night on teeth whiteners, DayWhite requires just 30-minutes twice a day. This tray-based teeth whitening system uses flavored whitening gel containing 7.5-9.5 percent hydrogen peroxide, amorphous calcium phosphate and potassium nitrate.
NiteWhite® -- Designed to work while you sleep, NiteWite uses an innovative gel that actually rebuilds dental enamel as it whitens. This tray-based teeth whitening system requires a custom fit dental appliance. Available in a variety of strengths, NiteWhite ACP Turbo (the strongest), can brighten your teeth up to six shades in three nights.
Nu Radiance® -- The Nu Radiance line is specially designed for people with tooth sensitivity issues. The company's tray-based teeth whitening kits are available in several strengths, allowing your dentist to select the gel concentration that provides maximum sensitivity-free whitening.
Opalescence® -- Opalescence makes a variety of take prescription-strength take-home and in-office teeth whitening systems. Specially formulated for people with sensitive teeth, Opalescence's take-home whitening gels are available in syringes for use with custom-fit trays and in pre-loaded Trèswhite disposable trays.
OTC Tooth Whitening Products
In-home teeth whiteners are significantly less expensive than dentist-administered treatments. Unfortunately OTC teeth whitening kits are also less effective and the results are not nearly as long lasting. Popular options include:
Whitening Toothpastes -- In addition to the mild abrasives found in all toothpastes, whitening toothpastes contain polishing and chemical agents, enhancing their ability to remove surface stains. Less expensive brands generally do not contain bleach, carbaide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide needed to lighten the color deep within the tooth. Premium brands like the Supersmile® Professional Teeth Whitening System offer enhanced benefits, including the ability to whiten both natural teeth and dental treatments. While most whitening toothpastes can only lighten your teeth about one shade, they are effective at keeping your teeth bright after professional whitening.
Whitening Strips -- Whitening strips are invisible adhesive strips that are coated with a peroxide-based gel. Applied directly to the teeth, whitening strips are usually worn for 30 minutes twice a day. Some products, like the popular Crest Whitestrips Teeth Whitening System, promise noticeable results in as little as one day.
Whitening Rinses -- Mouthwashes aren't just for fighting bad breath and dental plaque anymore. Many rinses are now incorporating whitening ingredients like hydrogen peroxide. However, whitening rinses are a relatively slow acting. Manufacturers say it may take as long as 12 weeks to see results.
Whitening Gels -- GOSMiLE®, and similar teeth whitening kits, are clear, peroxide-based gels that are applied with a special brush directly to the surface of your teeth. The gel class removes both surface stains and those deeper within the teeth. Whitening gels are usually applied twice a day for one to two weeks. A four-minute application of GOSMiLE gel twice a day for seven days can lighten your teeth up to six shades. Colgate's Simply White Night® whitening gel is designed to be applied before bedtime and worn all night. One drawback of whitening gels is that they may cause gum irritation unless carefully applied.
Tray-Based Teeth Whitening Kits -- These OTC versions of dentist-prescribed teeth whitening kits require filling a mouth guard-like tray with a gel containing a peroxide solution. The tray is then worn for a couple of hours every day or night for up to four weeks. Darkly stained teeth may require longer treatment.
A Word to the Wise About Teeth Whiteners
Tooth whitening products are a great way to improve your appearance. However, they're not recommended for everyone. You should always check with your dentist before whitening your teeth.
It's best to hold off on using teeth whitening products if you're pregnant or lactating, under the age of 16, allergic to peroxide or experiencing dental problems (e.g. tooth sensitivity, gum disease, cavities, etc.). People with tooth-colored fillings, tooth crowns, veneers, dental bridges and bonding may experience uneven coloration after using a teeth whitening product.
Individuals prone to compulsive behavior should be careful about using at-home teeth whitening kits. Overuse of teeth whiteners can lead to excessive tooth sensitivity and gum irritation. Long-term abuse of abuse of teeth whiteners can actually make teeth appear blotchy or translucent.
Finally, it's important to maintain realistic expectations about teeth whitening. Individual results will vary. For example, tooth whitening products affect darkly stained teeth in different ways. Yellowish teeth respond much better to whitening than those with brownish stains. Grayish teeth often don't respond to teeth whitening products at all. In some cases, the appearance of teeth with particularly dark stains will be better served by veneers or crowns than by any teeth whitening system.
Thinking About Dental Teeth Whitening?
Since no one teeth whitening product is right for everyone, how do you know which one will be right for you? The smartest way to make a good choice first time out is to ask a dental teeth whitening "pro." Your dentist can help you select the teeth whitening product or system that's a perfect fit for your teeth, budget and timeline.
To schedule a consultation with a cosmetic dentist near you, search now or call us any time at 1-866-970-0441.