Home Tooth Whitening

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Tray Fabrication Exercise and Demonstration
Tray Making and Delivery Series


The two questions my friends ask me are “Does bleaching work?” and “Will bleaching damage teeth?”  All of the bleaching systems work. However some work better and faster than others and some are safer.  The American Dental Association has published new standards for acceptance of products as “Safe” and “Effective”.  At the present time, only one product has met those standards.


ADA Accepted At-home Bleaching Products:

Product    Whitening Agent    Manufacturer
Opalescence Whitening Gel 10% 10% Carbamide peroxide Ultradent Products, Inc.


Dentist Prescribed At-Home Bleaching

You should first have an evaluation by a dentist to determine if there are any reasons you should not bleach.  Tooth colored restorations will not change color, while the teeth around them may lighten.  Some discolorations may be very stubborn and your dentist will be able to tell you how likely you are to have a pleasing outcome.

If you elect to have at-home bleaching the dentist will take an impression of your teeth so he/she can make a tray that fits over your teeth as snuggly as contact lenses.  On the next appointment he/she will show you how to place the gel into the tray.  You only place the gel into the cheek side of the tray, as that is where the reservoirs will have been placed.  Then place the tray in the mouth and clean off the excess gel.  This will be done every evening after brushing the teeth.   After removal of the tray, you will be shown how to remove the gel from the inside of the tray, using the front end of the toothbrush.  You will be given a tray holder into which to place the tray during non-use.


Over-the-counter At-Home Bleaching

There are many products on the supermarket for Tooth Whitening.  None of those products are approved as “safe” and “effective” by the American Dental Association (ADA).   Unfortunately the manufactures do not list the concentrations of the products on the label.  Here is a table of the concentration of Carbamide Peroxide or Hydrogen Peroxide for some of the most common over-the-counter products: 


Product  Whitening Agent  Manufacturer
Simply White 18% Carbamide Peroxide Colgate Oral Pharmaceuticals
Whitestrips 6% Hydrogen Peroxide   Procter  & Gamble
Extreme 10% Carbamide Peroxide Natural White
Rembrandt Plus 10% Carbamide Peroxide  Den-Mat Corporation
Metadent System 0.7 Hydrogen Peroxide  Unilever
Plus+White 5% Hydrogen Peroxide  CCA Industries


I consider these over-the-counter products as “entry level” bleaching products.  Some of them have the same concentration as the ADA recommends, but most of the products contain gels that are of a higher concentration than recommended by the ADA. 


In-Office Bleaching

The last type of bleaching is the In-Office bleaching procedure.  During such a procedure the dentist will cover the gum tissue with a barrier of resin, so the high concentration of bleaching agent does not come in contact with tissue.  Sometimes dentists will use a light to activate the bleaching agent.  We researchers are not convinced the light makes the product whiten teeth any faster.  This method is more expensive than the professionally prescribed At-Home bleaching procedure. 

If you have any other questions about tooth whitening do not hesitate to contact me.