What do Tooth Whitening Products Consist of?
Teeth whitening is a popular cosmetic dental treatment that can be performed at home and in our office in Medford. While specific ingredients may differ, products designed for home whitening typically contain hydrogen or carbamide peroxide, which helps lift surface stains from tooth enamel.
When whitening your teeth at home, it’s important to follow all provided instructions to ensure the safe application of the product and to reduce the chance of possible side effects.
Home Whitening Products for Teeth
At-home teeth whitening generally falls into the two categories of over-the-counter products and dentist-supervised treatments in which patients use dental-grade home whitening products. Over-the-counter whitening products contain lower levels of peroxide when compared to at-home dentist-supervised products. Common over-the-counter and dentist-supervised products include:
- Whitening strips: Polyethylene, a thin plastic material, is used in the manufacture of whitening strips. The flexible strips are coated with peroxide and fit over the teeth. Specific directions can vary per brand, but the treatment generally consists of placing the strips over the teeth for a specified amount of time.
- Bleaching trays: Bleaching trays contain a whitening solution and fit directly over the top and bottom teeth. Dental-grade bleaching trays are custom-fit at our office, while over-the-counter trays are fit at home. Bleaching trays consist of flexible plastic molded to fit directly over the teeth. When using an over-the-counter whitening kit, the user must first melt the bleaching trays in boiling water to create a custom mold. The user then places the bleaching solution into the trays and places the trays over their top and bottom teeth for a specified amount of time.
- Whitening toothpaste: Whitening toothpaste is available both over-the-counter and through dental prescriptions. The active ingredient in most whitening toothpaste is peroxide. Certain brands contain both baking soda and peroxide. The baking soda acts as an abrasive agent to help remove stains in conjunction with the peroxide. Whitening toothpaste is typically considered safe for daily use.
- Bleaching pens: Bleaching or whitening pens contain dissolvable whitening serum that users apply directly to the teeth. The pens consist of a tube with a soft tip, which releases the serum when the pen is twisted or squeezed. The soft tip allows for targeted application for each tooth, and the pens can also be used for quick whitening touch-ups.
Precautions for At-Home Whitening
At-home whitening treatments can eliminate surface stains and lighten the tooth surface by several shades. It’s important to note that at-home whitening treatments may not effectively remove deeply-set stains beneath the enamel and stains or discoloration caused by medications such as the antibiotic tetracycline.
If your teeth have deep-set stains or severe discoloration, it’s best to consult with Crater Lake Dental before using an over-the-counter whitening product. Peroxide can cause tooth sensitivity and gum irritation in certain individuals, so it’s imperative to follow all provided instructions to ensure the bleaching agent doesn’t absorb into the gum line. If irritation or sensitivity occurs, discontinue use and consult with the dental team at Crater Lake Dental.
Benefits of At-Home Teeth Whitening
At-home tooth-whitening treatments enhance your overall appearance by eliminating stains and lightening yellow or slightly discolored teeth. By using home whitening products as directed, maintaining a consistent oral hygiene routine, and scheduling regular check-ups with us at Crater Lake Dental, you can enjoy the benefits of a bright and healthy smile.
Questions About Home Whitening?
If you have questions or concerns about whitening your teeth, we recommend scheduling an appointment with our Medford team to discuss the best options for you.
We are now happy to offer you 3 different options to have a brighter and whiter smile!
- In Office Sensational Whitening $120.00: This is a great option for those with minimal staining and already have lighter teeth. The procedure is a quick 50 minute appointment. We place a soft mouthpiece with whitening gel into your mouth that you bite down on. A LED accelerating light is then placed in front of your mouth for 30 minutes. This first step is to start your whitening process. You will be given a pen to take home. You will paint the gel on your teeth and place mouthpiece back in for 20 minutes. This takes approximately 4-6 weeks to achieve a shade, possible two lighter. The pen will provide 60 days of applications and we carry additional pens for purchase when needing a refill for $15.00.
- Take Home Professional Whitening $329.00: This is a great option for those with moderate stained teeth. The procedure is two quick appointment approximately 20 minutes each. At the first visit impressions of your mouth are taken to fabricate custom made whitening trays for your mouth. The fabrication process takes approximately 2 weeks. You will then come back to have to have the trays inserted to verify accurate fit. We will go over the use of trays, proper dispensing of the whitening gel and the do’s and don’ts. You will leave with your trays, 4 tubes of whitening gel, instructions, and a few other goodies. The whitening process takes approximately 2 weeks of whitening at home and you may continue whitening longer if you are wanting to achieve additional whitening. You will achieve 2 shade possible three lighter. We sell additional tubes of gel in office when you need replenishment, 2 tubes are $27.00 and 4 tubes $50.00.
- Take Home Professional Whitening + In Office Professional Whitening (up to 3 applications) $550.00: This is a great option for those with moderate to heavy stained teeth. This is a dual process with the whitening trays noted above. In addition to the trays being used we have a potent whitening product that we apply in office to help achieve additional shades of whitening that the trays alone will not achieve. The appointment in office consists of isolation of the teeth and placement of whitening enhanced product on the teeth. The application is then left for 20 minutes and then rinsed off. This form of whitening is more likely to cause some cold sensitivity. The full process for one application is approximately 50 minutes. You can do up to three application in a visit which would increase the length of time in office.
Depending on how urgent it is that you would want to begin the whitening process there are two different way to do professional whitening:
- Due to the trays taking 2 weeks to fabricate some prefer to not wait for trays and elect to start with in office applications first and then take trays home to continue the whitening process after. With this option a greater amount of cold sensitivity is to be expected.
- Alternatively, the trays would be fabricated first and worn for two weeks. Then you would return for in office applications. With this option you will be more likely to experience a reduced amount of cold sensitivity.