Most whitening procedures use hydrogen peroxide (the same chemical used to bleach hair), or carbamide peroxide to lighten stains and brighten the natural colouring of your teeth. In general, the quicker the method of bleaching (as little as one hour) the more expensive it is. Less costly methods of tooth whitening can sometimes take weeks to work. After treatment the whiteness can last for years, but this does depend on your lifestyle. Eating and drinking foods that stain tooth enamel will speed up the decline more quickly. However, regularly using whitening toothpaste, which has a very small concentration of peroxide in it, will help keep teeth brighter for longer.
TEETH WHITENING METHODS – IN BRIEF
“I’ll be the first to admit, dental office teeth whitening has come a long way in the past 10 years. Now, the most popular teeth whitening dental office procedure known as Laser Bleaching is a much shorter process. Basically this teeth whitening procedure consists of the application of a concentrated peroxide gel onto your teeth, then for the next hour you sit in a dental chair with your mouth wide open, while a special light (usually argon) is shined onto the teeth whitening paste that in turn chemically reacts with the peroxide to complete the teeth whitening process in as short a time period as possible. This teeth whitening procedure does work. Although, many dentists say that you get a whiter smile by repeated tray applications because the teeth whitening peroxide stays in contact with your teeth for longer periods of time. The downside is that you still get stuck with that fat $500 – $1,000 bill. And you still need to either come back 6 months later for another teeth whitening or you’re given some take home whitening items!”
BriteSmile a leading accelerated technique is $500-$600 for a one-hour treatment. It involves gas-plasma light technology developed by a NASA scientist. A gel with 15% hydrogen peroxide is applied and then activated by light during three 20 minute sessions. A quote from BriteSmile:
“good oral hygiene and regular professional care will help maintain the BriteSmile results for about two years”
Dentist Supervised Treatments
These are generally just as effective as well as being slightly cheaper. They start from $300, but you have to watch out as some dentists will charge up to $650 for these! The dentist takes an impression of your teeth, and subsequently makes a flexible plastic mould which has a thin space for the whitening fluid. You can either wear this overnight, or wear from one to two hours a day for two weeks. Don’t choose the overnight system if you are a light sleeper! The amount of carbamide peroxide in the gel can vary from 5% to 30%. For example, Colgate’s overnight system uses 10% which is a fairly low concentration. High peroxide levels are obviously more effective but can irritate gums and make teeth feel sensitive.
Over the Counter
The Food and Drug Administration prohibits products sold in drugstores from having a concentration higher than 3% for hydrogen peroxide and 10% for carbamide peroxide. I will give you a few examples of the most successful brands available.
Rembrandt Plus Superior Bleaching System, $32.50: two plastic ‘Comfort-Fit Mouthguards’. Wear them for 20 to 30 minutes twice a day and according to the packaging, “expect results within a week”. I would personally advise that like all over the counter methods it may take more time and effort than this due to the imprecise fit of the mouth trays.
Crest Whitestrips, $44: The thin strips are inexpensive and easy to use, but they do require a fair amount of discipline and patience. You peel them off a plastic backing and stick them on your teeth for 30 minutes, twice a day. However, they only have 5% hydrogen peroxide and therefore take 28 days to show results.
Whitening Toothpastes: Let me just start off by saying that these have many drawbacks, particularly as they take a very long time to show any real results. Like many cosmetic products nowadays, many claims made are misleading. For example, the success of whitening toothpaste is directly related to how long and often you brush your teeth for. BUT, over brushing your teeth can cause the loss of tooth enamel and this can’t be replaced. They are a much more effective product once laser treatment or moulds have been used, in order to prevent discolouration.
Source by Chloe Harkin