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 Mount Prospect. 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 Mount Prospect Dental Care 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 Mount Prospect Dental Care.
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 Mount Prospect Dental Care, 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 Mount Prospect team to discuss the best options for you.