Teeth Whitening – How? Why? And Where?

Teeth whitening, also known as teeth bleaching, is a very sought out procedure. But with so many options, and lots of conflicting information, it can be confusing to know where to start, just what to do, and if you even should bleach at all!

Most teeth bleaching systems contain an active ingredient such as either carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide in strengths of around 10-22%. These ingredients penetrate the enamel of the teeth and the oxygen molecules from the whitening system react with the discolored molecules of the stain, breaking them apart and causing them to reflect light and make the teeth appear whiter. No “stripping” or removal of the enamel is done.

Many types of dental whitening systems are available. Simple, over the counter systems, such as “White Strips” can be a easy, less costly way to bleach teeth.  These systems, when used consistently over a period of time, such as twice a day, daily for two weeks, can give reasonable results. Over the counter systems can run around the $40-$90 mark.

Professional whitening systems sold in dental offices such as custom made trays with a bleach gel that the tray is filled with, can also give great results in less time. Professional trays with bleach, when used correctly, can give improvement in as little as 5 days. These systems are nice because once you have the trays, you’ll only need to purchase more professional strength bleach anytime you want to “punch up” the whiteness of your teeth. These professional take home systems often run around $250-$550, or even more in some areas.

Professional in office systems such as Zoom! can be completed in about an hour of in office chair time. A gel is applied to your teeth, and a heat or light source may be used to to increase the bleaching process. The end result is the same as the two weeks of daily “white strip” use, or of the five days of bleach tray use. These systems use a high-concentration whitening gels that are not available over the counter. These in office systems can run around $600-$950, or even more in some areas.

Teeth whitening can be an ideal and simple way to improve your smile. No matter which system you chose, you may find that the results fade over time. Whitening can last from up to a year to two years, though longer results have been noted. Please ask your dentist if you have any questions regarding your teeth whitening plans. It is always a pleasure to serve you here at Saremi Johnstone Dentistry!