Welcome! You’ve come to this site because you want information on how to whiten teeth at home using natural, over the counter or professional grade dental tooth bleaching products. You want to find out your options, methods and the cost associated with whitening kits and products.
There are a few options as far as procedures goes and many different products and tools that can assist you with teeth whitening. This website was created to give in-depth information of the most popular products and procedures. There isn’t a so called best whitening method only one that is right for you. It is my wish that this website provides the information, comparisons and links to assist you in making your decision.
Teeth Whitening – What Is It?
Tooth whitening is a cosmetic dental procedure that involves the restoring of or whitening beyond the underlying tooth shade, by removing the surface pigment discoloration caused from certain foods and evidenced by calculus.
Whitening also known as bleaching and is usually accomplished by the use of various oral hygiene methods and products such as: bleaching strips, whitening pens, whitening gels and laser tooth whitening. Whitening methods usually bleach teeth with either carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide being the active ingredients.
Hydrogen Peroxide is said to be more effective than carbamide peroxide but is known to have more side effects. Common side effects are teeth sensitivity and gum and teeth irritation. Another side effect is more psychological that can become an obsession for some is known is Bleachorexia it’s important not to overdo your teeth whitening measures.
Whitening and Enamel Breakdown
Tooth enamel is the hardest part of the tooth and the hardest substance found in the human body. Tooth enamel is the visible part of the tooth that covers the crown and normal color of enamel ranges from yellow to grayish white. Enamel is translucent so when the enamel is broken down even in the slightest bit the yellow color appears.
Enamel makes up one of the four parts of the tooth Enamel, Dentin, Cementium and Pulp. The color of a person’s teeth is directly related to one’s age and years of eating foods that break down the tooth enamel exposing underlying dentin. Dentin is a hard calcified tissue that forms the bulk of the body of tooth.
Dentin is the yellow that is seen when the enamel of the teeth has been broken down. Over time enamel is broken down from normal use, millions of cracks and spaces occur and fill up of debris. This is what eventually causes the dull and lackluster appearance of the teeth.
How Does Teeth Whitening Work?
Tooth whitening works by removing stains and discoloration by a simple process. The active ingredients (hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide) that bleach the teeth and break stains into smaller pieces which makes the surface color less concentrated thus making teeth brighter.
It is important to note that this process may take several applications doesn’t work on all teeth. Usually teeth with yellow pigment will bleach better, that teeth that are brown in color. Teeth that are gray in color, discolored by medications or injury will usually not bleach at all. Tooth whitening will not work on caps, veneers, crowns or fillings.
Tooth Discoloration & Stains: Two types
Teeth can be stained in two ways, on the surface of the teeth and in the interior. The terms used are extrinsic (external) and intrinsic (internal). Routine staining occurs from generally wear and tear from dark-colored beverages, foods and tobacco.
Extrinsic stains are usually minor and can be removed with brushing and regular dentist cleanings. Sometimes, these stains require teeth whitening to penetrate into dentin to remove the discoloration from teeth.
Intrinsic stains usually originate from aging, injury, prescription medication or excessive ingestion of fluoride. Usually these types of stains cannot be eliminated with teeth whitening methods, at times home teeth whitening kits are prescribed consistently a treat the stains. If these tactics fail veneers and caps are options for some.
What Causes Tooth Staining?
Basically time or age, is the main factor that contributes to the staining of teeth. Years of eating teeth staining foods that break down enamel over time is the main culprit of stain accumulation. Other culprits are coffee, tea, and red wine which contain chromogens to attach to teeth enamel. Tobacco is another and tar and nicotine that stains enamel.
Trauma or injury can cause teeth to change color this happens when the teeth sends more dentin to the injured area which is darker than enamel. Medications can cause darkening as well such as: antibiotics, high blood pressure drugs and other certain types of drugs.
What’s the difference between: Whitening vs. Bleaching?
Bleaching is the process of whitening teeth beyond their natural color using products that contain the ingredient bleach such as: hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide. Whitening have to do with restoring teeth surface color by removing dirt and debris that cause teeth discoloration. Toothpaste is considered a whitener and the term whitening is for products that contain bleach. Tooth whitening is the preferred term instead of bleaching and is the most frequently used term no matter what ingredients are inside.
When whitening teeth at home the products used can be dispensed by dentists for home-use or purchased over the counter (OTC) and they are usually categorized into two groups:
- Peroxide based bleaching agents
- Whitening Toothpastes
- Electric Toothbrushes
- Oral Irrigators
Peroxide based bleaching agents are used in many of the bleaching products administered today with carbamide peroxide being the primary ingredient. These bleaching agents/ teeth whiteners can come in the form of professional strength dispensed by your dentist or purchase over the counter in the form of kit that you use at home. Professionally dispensed take home whitening kits can produce phenomenal results over a longer period of time. These take home kits are usually water based and have a lower concentration of peroxide content. The professionally dispensed kits range in price from $300-$600, where the OTC kits cost about $20-$100 on average with more elaborate version going to $100-$200 range.
Best Whitening Strips GuideAfter the reviewing the most popular teeth whitening products available. Crest 3D Luxe Whitestrips Professional Effects seems to be the most preferred. Based on customer reviews around the web most found significant whitening after the first treatment.
|Crest 3D White Luxe Whitestrips Professional Effects, 40 Count||2.4 oz||72.99|
|Rembrandt Intense Stain Dissolving Strips, 56 Count||2.4 oz||88.95|
|Go Smile Teeth Whitening System, 20 Count||4 oz||62.79|
In water based product, carbamide peroxide breaks down to urea and hydrogen peroxide which is the active bleaching agent. According to the American Dental Association (ADA).
“A bleaching product containing 10 percent carbamide peroxide yields approximately 3.5 percent hydrogen peroxide. The most commonly observed side effects with these peroxide-based bleaching agents are tooth sensitivity and occasional irritation of soft tissues in the mouth (oral mucosa), particularly the gums. Tooth sensitivity often occurs during early stages of bleaching treatment. Tissue irritation may result from an ill-fitting tray used to contain bleaching product. Both tooth sensitivity and tissue irritation are usually temporary and stop after the treatment. On rare occasions, irreversible tooth damage has been reported. Patients should be cautioned that not enough information is available to support unsupervised long-term and/or repeated use of bleaching products.”
Professional grade bleaching products that are applied in a dentist office have hydrogen peroxide concentration that is much higher up to 40%. The bleaching can be combined with and ultra-violet light or a laser to accelerate the teeth whitening. Because of the high concentration of peroxide in these procedures precautions must be made to protect the gums from irritation. This is usually done with a rubber dam or a glycerin based gel that is applied for the duration of the procedure which lasts about an hour and can cost on average about $650.
The most accessible and least expensive option are the over the counter (OTC) bleaching products (usually $20-$100). These products come in the form of a kit that includes a teeth whitening gel. The bleach concentration of the gel is lower considerably lower than that of the professionally dispensed take home whiteners. The kit usually contains a one size fits all tray that the gel is applied to the teeth with. There are also kits that include whitening strips and paint on applicators. Most of the time these kits only whiten some of the front teeth where a custom fit dental tray will be more effective because it is designed to properly fit all of the teeth and ensure proper bleaching agent application.
Whitening toothpastes contain abrasive and polishing agents such as silica that scrub the teeth to them by removing surface discoloration and stains. These whitening agents accomplish this through gentle polishing and mild bleaching. Whitening pastes can take several weeks to show results because it doesn’t change the actual color of your teeth it just removes dirt and debris that cause discoloration. Teeth whitening toothpastes don’t give dramatic white results, if you are looking for dramatic results bleaching and ultra-violet lighting will be better options.
Electric Toothbrushes have been proven to be more effective than hand brushing for keeping teeth clean. If you’ve made the investment in getting your teeth whitened already getting the right electric toothbrush will go a long way to helping you maintain your bright smile longer. Also, with an electric toothbrush you can benefit from proper teeth brushing and improve your overall oral dental health. Dentists recommend electric toothbrushes for the good brushing technique that you are able to take advantage of with these toothbrushes. In and of themselves they aren’t teeth whitening products. High quality electric brushes are designed to remove stains from the surface of the teeth and will help restore teeth back to the original color.
Electric brushes come with features and modes for sensitive teeth, gum massage and teeth whitening. These features make them far more superior to manual brushing. Some come with pressure sensors that let you know if you’re brushing too hard, and digital reminders to replace your brush head. The suggested use of electric brushes is to brush for at least two minutes brushing each quadrant of your mouth for at least 30 seconds each. This is very simple with a power toothbrush as most have a timer already integrated in the brush to assist you with this.
Oral irrigators are the complement to brushing. Brushing removes stains from the surface of teeth but it still falls short of a complete clean. Flossing and using an oral irrigator is the most effective way to clean your teeth. Flossing cleans the hidden tooth surfaces and an oral irrigator washes the dirt away. Oral irrigation is like a shower for the teeth, it produces a stream of water that you use to wash food particles and matter from your teeth. Most irrigators have settings where you can control the amount of pressure the stream of water. For an overall and complete teeth care use an oral irrigator for a deep clean.
In summary…if you want to achieve teeth whitening at home and have that celebrity smile. It is imperative to invest in the proper dental hygienic tools. Teeth whitening in and of itself doesn’t represent good oral health it is merely cosmetic in nature (just for looks). To ensure the overall health of your teeth go the extra mile and integrate the tools discussed here and reap the rewards from you sparkling smile.