Teeth whitening is no longer a dental procedure to be done at a dental office. There are many advanced teeth whitening kits available for at-home use.
Table of Contents
What is teeth whitening?
Teeth whitening is a procedure where we apply a decolorizing agent to the teeth. The decolorizing agent removes any stains and brings the shade of our teeth to a brighter side.
The common decolorizing agent used in these products is either carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide.
How does teeth whitening work?
Carbamide peroxide is a more stable product compared to hydrogen peroxide. The teeth whitening kits come with any one of them.
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When we apply the kit to our teeth, the carbamide peroxide reacts with water and disintegrates into hydrogen peroxide and urea.
The nascent oxygen released from the fresh hydrogen peroxide acts as a bleaching agent and decolorizes the entire teeth. In the process of bleaching, it removes stains.
Carbamide peroxide vs Hydrogen peroxide
Products containing carbamide peroxide last long as the chemical composition is more stable compared to hydrogen peroxide. Similarly, products containing hydrogen peroxide are unstable and last for a limited time until it disintegrates into water.
Are teeth whitening kits or strips safe?
The commercially available teeth whitening kits or strips are safe for home use, as they contain lower concentrations of carbamide peroxide (less than 40%) or hydrogen peroxide (less than 5%).
But indiscriminate use or excessive use of these kits might degrade your teeth condition. Hence it is always better to have a dental consultation or opinion before opting for home whitening kits.
Teeth whitening might cause increased sensitivity for few days. Hence you should be prepared to bear with it. Moreover, teeth whitening is not an option for a certain group of people. In this post, we will discuss this in further sections.
Are teeth whitening strips or kits effective?
The teeth whitening kits/teeth whitening strips/teeth whitening gels contain lower concentrations of carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide. They are usually more effective in patients with mild stains.
The amount of teeth whitening you would experience from these kits will be a few shades on the whiter side, but not to an extent so that the entire yellow teeth become white.
In simple words, home-based teeth whitening kits are ideal for people with mild stains. On the other hand, professional teeth whitening at dental offices would be preferred for someone with deep stains on their teeth.
How many times can I use the teeth whitening kits?
The teeth whitening kits are bleaching agents. Hence use them with caution. Excessive use of home-based kits or strips or gels is not ideal.
It is ideal to use these home-based teeth whitening kits once a year or just 1 week before an occasion.
Can teeth whitening damage gums?
Yes! Teeth whitening can damage gums. The hydrogen peroxide which is the principal ingredient in the kit is an irritant and might burn your gums or cause irritation if used in higher concentrations.
Hence it is ideal to protect the gums during the teeth whitening procedure. Professional teeth whitening procedure separates gums from the active area during the process.
But in home-based kits, you should take care to prevent the application of teeth whitening strips or gels from touching your gums.
Few people are very sensitive to peroxide. On application of peroxide, the gums become red and itchy. They should avoid using home-based bleaching and should opt for professional bleach.
Can teeth whitening damage your teeth?
Excessive use of teeth whitening might be harmful. Inappropriate use of bleaching agents in the kit can cause pores in your teeth and might damage your teeth.
Who should avoid teeth whitening?
Everyone can go for teeth whitening. But there is a set of people who should avoid teeth whitening.
Every tooth contains 3 layers.
The enamel is the outermost layer, while the dentin is the second layer below the enamel. The pulp is the deepest layer lying inside the enamel and dentin.
Enamel is usually translucent and white, while dentin is yellow. The white shade of your teeth depends on the thickness of your enamel.
If you have thick enamel, your teeth appear whiter. On the other hand, if you have thin enamel, the yellowish hue of the underlying dentin is exposed, and your teeth appear more yellow.
Teeth whitening or bleaching makes the enamel opaquer. As a result, the underlying dentin’s color becomes less exposed and the teeth shade moves to a brighter side.
But bleaching or teeth whitening should not be used in the following conditions
- In a few conditions where the enamel is not present on teeth. There are few hereditary conditions like amelogenesis imperfecta or dentinogenesis imperfect, where the enamel is lost on the teeth. Such conditions should avoid dental bleaching or teeth whitening procedures.
- People with worn-out teeth usually have sensitivity. Such people should avoid bleaching or whitening if the procedure increases the sensitivity of their teeth.
- Teeth with more caries (Rampant caries – most of the teeth are with caries) should avoid dental bleach.
- People with unhygienic mouths and lots of calculus in their teeth should avoid bleach as it might not work like that. They should undergo initial dental cleaning before applying a tooth whitening kit.
Can teeth whitening remove stains?
Yes! Teeth whitening can remove stains. The base ingredient, hydrogen peroxide is a stain remover. But remember! Deed stains might not be removed. As a standard protocol, it is always ideal to have a dental cleaning before teeth whitening.
Can teeth whitening gel expire?
Yes! Teeth whitening gels containing hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide do expire. They have their expiry date on the box.
Usually, carbamide peroxide gels last much longer compared to hydrogen peroxide gels.
Are teeth whitening strips permanent?
No! teeth whitening procedure can last for a few weeks to months. It depends on one’s food habits and oral hygiene habits.
On a general basis, professional teeth whitening procedures last for 6 months to one year. Teeth whitening from strips lasts for few months. Teeth whitening from pens and gels can last for few days to a month.
Professional teeth whitening vs home-based teeth whitening kits?
Professional teeth whitening uses ultraviolet light in dental offices. The UV light activates the chemical composition in the dental bleach and is more effective.
On the other hand, the home-based bleaching kits use only carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide kits. The light that we use in these kits has a very limited role to play as they are made of LED.
Overall, professional teeth whitening provides much brighter smiles compared to home-based procedures. People who are serious about teeth whitening should opt for professional teeth whitening in the dental office.
Teeth whitening gels
Teeth whitening gels come in the form of syringes. They contain stable concentrations of carbamide peroxide.
How to use teeth whitening gels?
The kit usually comes with a tray for loading the teeth-whitening gels. The pack usually contains
- Gel syringes
- Loading tray with LED
- De-sensitizing lotion or paste
The longer side of the tray is for upper teeth and the shorter side of the tray is for lower teeth. The tray contains an LED light in the front.
Teeth whitening procedure using gels:
- Brush your teeth thoroughly.
- Apply a lip balm on your upper and lower lips. Lip balm moistens your lips and prevents any damage from chemical leakage from the tray during the process of teeth whitening.
- Load the tray on both sides with the gel
- Keep the tray in the mouth so that the upper tray covers the upper teeth and the lower side covers the lower teeth.
- Do not swallow any saliva during the process as the carbamide peroxide might cause some caustic effect in your mouth. It is usually tasteless but can feel its presence as the material becomes activated.
- Press the knob or switch on the front end of the tray. This activates the LED light. The LED light is programmed to be working for 10 minutes only. After 10 minutes the light switches off itself.
- Once the light goes off, remove the tray. Rinse your mouth with water gently. Apply the desensitizing paste on your teeth to reduce your post-operative sensitivity.
- Do not eat or drink for another half an hour.
How does the teeth whitening gel system works?
The carbamide peroxide in the tray reacts with water in the mouth and forms hydrogen peroxide and urea. The LED light in the tray increases the temperature in that area. As a result, warm hydrogen peroxide acts as an instant bleaching agent and will decolorize your teeth.
When do we use teeth whitening gels?
Teeth whitening gels are more powerful than teeth whitening strips and teeth whitening pens. Though they are much inferior to professional teeth whitening procedures, they are ideal for removing moderate stains on teeth.
Teeth whitening up to a few shades can be achieved using teeth whitening gels. They are ideal for dark coffee stains and deep stains for colored foods.
Not ideal for teeth anomalies and people with dental fluorosis.
Best teeth whitening gels
Ismile is a tried and tested product by many. It comes with a carbamide peroxide syringe and a tray with LED light.
The tray is soft made of silicone and can fit into any mouth. The LED light comes with batteries and no need to connect them to mobile or any charger to use.
The entire procedure runs for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes remove the tray and wash it. Check for the teeth shade. You can repeat the process another 2 – 3 times until you are satisfied with the shade of your teeth.
But do not overdo the procedure. Also do not use more than 4ml of the gel in each cycle. Do not overfill the tray with the gel. It might contact the gums and lips and may produce irritation.
Novashine is another great product that comes with direct hydrogen peroxide instead of carbamide peroxide.
The kit comes with a loading tray which should be connected to mobile for the LED to work. Just load the tray with the hydrogen peroxide in the syringe and place it in the mouth for 20 to 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, remove the tray and clean it under running water. Rinse your mouth with water and apply a desensitizing paste.
Teeth whitening strips
Teeth-whitening strips are another great way to whiten your teeth at home. The strips are coated with chemicals or bleaching agents to act on your teeth.
How to use teeth whitening strips?
The kit comes with 2 teeth whitening strips and an LED mouthpiece.
Directions of use:
- Brush your teeth thoroughly
- Apply lip balm on your lips
- Remove the strips from the sachet. The longer strip is for upper teeth and the shot strip is for lower teeth.
- Peel the strip and attach the adhesive surface over the teeth. Take all precautions not to extend the strip over the gums.
- They will have 2 parts on the adhesive surface. The central part contains the chemical and the periphery which contains the adhesive layer.
- See to it that the adhesive layer rests on the gums and not on the teeth so that the complete teeth area is covered with an active area on the strip.
- The active area contains hydrogen peroxide in a water retention medium. The water retention medium absorbs water from saliva and activates the hydrogen peroxide. It is a slow process and usually takes 40 to 60 minutes. Hence you should wear the strips for 60 minutes.
- After one hour, place the LED mouthpiece into the mouth and switch on the light. The activated hydrogen peroxide gets heated by the LED light to produce the bleaching effect. The light switches off after its stipulated time indicating the completion of the bleaching or teeth whitening process.
- After the completion of the process, remove the LED mouthpiece and the strips. The strips once used cannot be reused, as the hydrogen peroxide disintegrates once the activation process starts.
When do we use teeth whitening strips?
Teeth-whitening strips are ideal for mild to moderate stains. We cannot expect huge improvement but can use them for a decent improvement in the teeth shade.
The teeth whitening strips are safer compared to teeth whitening gels. Moreover, it can be used once a day until you get satisfactory results.
But the treatment should be stopped once you start feeling sensitivity in the teeth. Always use desensitizing paste on your teeth after the treatment.
Best teeth whitening strips
Crest 3D white strips
The crest is one of the best and fastest teeth whitening technology available at home. The results stay for more than 2 years (Company statement).
The box contains 10 teeth whitening strips, which can be used for 10 cycles (1 strip for each cycle) and an LED mouthpiece. The strips contain PEG-8, Sodium saccharin, and sodium hydroxide other than hydrogen peroxide.
Lumineux teeth whitening strips
Lumineux is an interesting product. Like other teeth whitening strips it is not made of hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. It is completely enamel-safe and is a vegan-based product.
The strips contain natural ingredients like coconut oil, dead sea salt, lemon peel oil, and carboxymethyl along with deionized water. This is a preferred product that is afraid of sensitivity from chemicals like hydrogen peroxide.
Based on the product rating, it seems there are more than 12000 happy and satisfied customers to it. Just apply the upper and lower strips on the teeth and wait for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove the strip and rinse your mouth.
The entire procedure can be repeated for at least 7 days in a row and later once a week for 3 weeks for effective whitening.
Teeth whitening pens
Teeth whitening pens are the ideal and easy-to-carry whitening solutions. You can just carry them with you in your backpack.
Use them one day before an occasion and boom! Enjoy the smiling confidence with your white teeth. Though the effect of teeth whitening is much lower compared (Less than 5% hydrogen peroxide) to other procedures, its compact size and ease to carry provide the best instant solutions to teeth whitening.
In simple words, if you are attending a marriage tomorrow and want to have tooth whitening. You can carry the pen in your bag and can apply it in the hotel room the night before the marriage. It’s that easy.
How to use the teeth whitening pens?
Teeth whitening pens have come in compact sizes.
Directions of use:
- Apply the treatment just before going to the bed.
- Brush your teeth thoroughly and dry your teeth.
- Apply the brush surface of the pen on your teeth by standing in front of the mirror.
- Take necessary care to apply the pen all over the teeth and do not leave any area on the teach untouched. It may produce inconsistency in teeth whitening all over the teeth.
- Take necessary precautions not to touch the gums.
- The alcohol in the material applied on teeth dries up leaving the precipitate of hydrogen peroxide on the teeth. While sleeping the peroxide acts on teeth causing the bleaching effect.
- Brush your teeth normally the next morning.
Best teeth whitening pens
Colgate optic white teeth whitening pen
The Colgate optic white pen comes with a precision brush to target the exact surface of your teeth. It can be used daily for 7 days.
Ideal for minimal whitening and removal of mild stains on your teeth. The pen comes with 3% hydrogen peroxide mixed with alcohol and water.
Lumeneux ultra-bright whitening pen
Like Lumenuex strips, the Lumenuex pens are enamel safe and devoid of hydrogen peroxide. They contain glycerol, carboxymethyl, coconut oil, dead sea salt, and lemon peel oil.
Just remove the cap and dispense the gel. Apply the gel on the teeth and wait for 30 minutes. Rinse with water after 30 minutes.
Vei beauty teeth whitening pens
Vei beauty comes with a carbamide peroxide composition in mint flavor. Like Colgate teeth whitening pens, apply the brush surface on teeth with lips wide open.
Take necessary care to apply all over the teeth. Wait for 30 minutes and wash your mouth.
You can repeat the procedure twice a day until you get satisfactory results. Moreover, you can also use the LED mouthpiece for an effective bleaching effect on the teeth.
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