A revolution has taken place over the past few years allowing consumers to whiten their teeth quickly and safely – often in the comfort of their home. Sometimes the technical terms used are confusing; “Whitening” and “Bleaching” may be used interchangeably. In the explanation below, describing the absolute latest techniques, we talk about “whitening” as the end result you desire. The “bleaching agent” is most often a peroxide gel. There are also whitening toothpastes which may or may not use peroxides. (More about that later).
You can now learn the methods for teeth bleaching and how you can do it affordably at home. Find out which method is right for you and why some are better than others. It's now possible in almost all cases to achieve dental office quality teeth bleaching from the comfort of your own home. The best teeth bleaching systems use a moldable tray system that contains fitted mouthpieces. But, new technologies and formulas (available directly from us) are revolutionizing teeth bleaching/whitening. (That’s why Hollywood celebrities now come to us for Fresh Breath AND Whiter Teeth solutions).
I began practicing dentistry in 1975 - at that time I had just graduated with my DDS degree from UCLA and was eager to make my mark as a dentist. I worked a double shift at a dental clinic near the corner of Hollywood and Vine (about as unglamorous an intersection as you will ever find, especially when seeing emergency patients at 10:30 pm) and at a clinic near CBS Television City (where I once fixed the cracked denture of a famous Vaudevillian who was appearing across the street).
Everybody loves a bright white smile,
and there are many different procedures available
to help you improve the look of yours.
At any rate, it really didn't matter at which socioeconomic level my patients came from. This was Los Angeles; everyone was very image conscious about their smiles. Back in the 70's, cosmetic dentistry meant using "Pearl Drops" toothpaste.
A lot has changed in the past 40 years and especially in the last 10 years in the field of teeth bleaching and whitening, both in the dental office and at home.
Methods For Teeth BLEACHING
Dental (In-Office) Teeth Whitening and Home Teeth Whitening
1) Dental (In-Office) Teeth Whitening is effective, but can be a time consuming and expensive procedure.
I can tell you from first-hand experience, dentists love the patient who wants his or her teeth bleached in the dental office. Back in the early '90's, there was only one option!
Your dentist would take impressions of your teeth, send them off to a lab, and in 5-10 days receive back your custom fitted mouthpiece. Then you would sit in the dental chair for 1-2 hours, with your mouthpieces filled with peroxide (at a very low concentration) pressed against your teeth and gums.
After 3-4 visits, your teeth would be officially declared whiter (and usually they were), and you would be sent home with a nice, fat $500 - $1,000 bill to pay and whiter teeth, of course. You would also be very likely to have sensitive teeth and gums because no one realized the damage that overexposure to peroxide could do to your gums and to someone who had sensitive teeth. (See how to bleach your teeth – even if you have VERY sensitive teeth towards the end of this article!)
Now, I'll be the first to admit, dental office bleaching has come a long way in the past 10 years. Currently, the most popular dental in-office bleaching procedure is known as laser bleaching (technically lasers are no longer used). It uses halogen, LED, or plasma arc systems, with halogen providing the best results according to clinical studies. The systems are similar in that there is application of a concentrated carbamide peroxide gel (or hydrogen peroxide gel) onto your teeth, and for the next 15 minutes to one hour you sit in a dental chair with your mouth wide open, while the light activates the paste to complete the bleaching process in as short a time period as possible. NOTE: Hydrogen peroxide is about 3 times more concentrated than carbamide peroxide, so percentage concentrations used in formulations may sound confusing, especially when carbamide is mixed with hydrogen peroxide – more about this later – and what’s best for you at the very end !
This procedure does work (although many dentists say that you get a whiter smile by repeated tray applications because the peroxide stays in contact with your teeth for longer periods of time); however, the downside is that you still get stuck with that fat $500 - $1,000 bill (at least for the better dental whitening!).
Furthermore, you still need to either come back 6 months later for another (coffee, red wine, smoking, tea, etc. will eventually take their toll) or you're given some take home bleaching items (then, why did you spend $500-$1000 dollars for the in-office procedure?).
Similar “looking” systems are offered in malls now – but BE CAREFUL and always ask questions. Most of the employees at these mall locations know as much about oral health as your pet canary. So, if you have any existing dental problems or concerns, I suggest you skip the mall bleaching.
Fortunately (as with most other things in life), technology stepped in to make teeth whitening easier and more affordable!
2) In many cases, Home Teeth Bleaching is now as effective as dental office treatments, in addition to being less expensive and more convenient.
It's now possible (in almost all cases) to achieve dental office quality teeth whitening, from the comfort of your own home.
At-Home teeth whitening and bleaching has taken a bite out of (sorry about the pun) the in-office power bleaching systems, where millions of corporate advertising dollars now compete with the comfort of doing it at home.
And rightly so...
Up until a few years ago, teeth bleaching was a fairly complex process - the hard part was making those fitted mouthpieces for each patient. For this reason alone, home teeth bleaching was not an option for most people.
But, the advent of easy to make home trays (like the type we offer in our kit), allow the intimate contact between the bleaching gel and the enamel surface, which is crucial for a perfect result.
Essentially, There Are 3 Different Types of Home Teeth Whitening Available:
- Bleaching Strips you stick on your teeth
- Trays with bleaching gels
- Brush-on whitening
1) Teeth Bleaching Strips
This very common type of home teeth bleaching system uses strips of gel that adhere to your teeth. The main lure of this type of home teeth whitening is their simplicity of use. They're easy to apply and no preparation is necessary. Again, everybody loves shortcuts, right? Unfortunately, once again, that's exactly the type of teeth whitening you end up getting! Let me explain...
Why don't Teeth Bleaching Strips work as well as expected?
Strips that stick on your teeth usually consist of an upper strip and a lower strip, each pressed against the outer surface of your teeth. Now think about this for a second...are your teeth completely flat? Of course not - they have recesses and grooves, particularly between each tooth. Well imagine you're painting a fence, and you just slapped paint on the outside, without taking the time to paint the grooves between each wooden board. That fence would look pretty funny wouldn't it? Nicely painted on the outside, but in the grooves between each wooden board it’s still dark and dingy, with all of the old paint showing.
When you use bleaching strips, the same thing can easily happen to your teeth if you're not careful. The whiter your teeth become, the more pronounced those dingy cracks seem! Eventually it can end up looking like you have small gaps between your teeth. Definitely not the desired result!
In fact, sales of these bleaching strips at stores rose like crazy when first introduced, then dipped like a roller coaster when users were frustrated by the lousy results. When newer versions came out, consumers rushed to the stores based on promises on New and Improved – so sales rose – but dropped like an anchor a second time.
2) Trays With Bleaching Gels
Trays with bleaching gels still provide the best combination of the most affordable and most efficient tooth whitening available – as long as you have some patience. Since I'm a dentist, I can let you in on a few little secrets here.
First, most of the bleaching gels available at your dentist are exactly the same. There is very little difference from one dentist to another, because the gels are formulated by a small number of manufacturers. (Our gel is made specifically for us, using a proprietary formula)
Second, most of the bleaching gels available at retail stores are of very poor quality. They've been sitting in a warehouse or on a truck for who knows how long and because they are designed to be "low cost" (with low cost being sometimes the only consideration), they have very low concentrations of active ingredients.
Third, make sure you use a bleaching gel with a concentration of at least 30% - this means a whiter result in a shorter period of time! (Our newest formula is 35% peroxide – but read below to see how we get FAST, GORGEOUS results without any discomfort.)
Fourth (and this is BIG), make sure your gel formulation includes a Desensitizing Agent already mixed into the formula! A very effective desensitizer is Potassium Nitrate (used by dentists worldwide as a clinical desensitizing agent). By the way, when Potassium Nitrate is used, one can hasten the whitening process by adding glycerin to the mix because the inner portion of the tooth (the nerve and pulp) is now “cushioned” by the Potassium Nitrate.
Furthermore, adding a desensitizer allows higher concentrations of peroxide (we now use 35%).
|Teeth Before Starting TheraBreath Treatment|
|Teeth After 2 Weeks of TheraBreath Treatment|
3) Brush-on Bleaching – It’s NOW Possible to get GREAT results, even if you’re the IMPATIENT type.
Brush-on whitening in principal is a great concept. Just brush on the formula, allow it to dry on your teeth for 10 – 30 minutes at a time – and Voila, white teeth! Sounds simple, right?
In reality, brush-on whitening is designed for the segment of the public that is in love with shortcuts. (In other words, for those people who don't want to spend the time to do it right the first time).
Why do some Brush-on Bleaching Systems Fail? (Read on to see why our NEW Brush-On System is AMAZING.)
“Old-Style” Brush-on Bleaching Systems have a few flaws:
Flaw 1: When you brush on the formula, it relies on the premise that it will dry on your teeth. This is great in principle, but if you get the formula wet (i.e. from saliva) then it becomes REALLY easy to rub off parts of the bleaching formulas. Guess what happens if you rub off only part of the whitening formula? You got it - you don't get an even whitening result! It turns out patchy, and blotchy. It reminds me of the time I painted our first apartment...don't ask!
Flaw 2: The second flaw with most brush-on whitening, in my opinion, is the ingredients. Because this system needs to work FAST, you can’t get very good results with low concentrations of peroxide. Most of the older style paint-on systems use 21%. (That’s why we use 35%.)
Flaw 3:It is very important that your whitening formula uses a DESENSITIZER such as Potassium Nitrate (we do). This allows the introduction of glycerin that speeds up the whitening process. This is especially important when you’re in a big rush while the gel is sitting on your teeth.
TIP: After you brush on the gel (preferably using our new BLEACHING PEN) you can avoid the #1 problem with this system: Saliva. Just get a bleaching tray (straight from us, unmolded). After you paint the bleaching gel on your teeth (upper or lower), stick the tray over the arch you just painted. This keeps saliva off your teeth for a very long time. Try to keep the gel on your teeth for 30 minutes each time for ideal results. Repeat on the opposite arch.
Armed With This New Knowledge, What Should You Do?
Well, there are 4 KEY COMPONENTS to making sure you get the best possible results every time you bleach your teeth.
- Immediately before bleaching, brush your teeth with an oxygenating toothpaste, such as TheraBreath or TheraBRITE combined with the finest natural polishing agents AND aloe vera to strengthen your gums and prevent any sensitivity.
- If using a home kit, use form-fitting mouth trays that are fitted to your specific bite. Make sure they fit snugly around your teeth.
- Use a 35% concentrated bleaching gel based on carbamide (urea) peroxide that is formulated specifically to reduce the sensitivity to your teeth and gums. (In other words - contains Potassium Nitrate). Make sure to place just enough of the bleaching gel in the portion of the tray facing the “FRONT” of the teeth, so that it does not ooze out onto your gums.
- Immediately after bleaching, enhance the effect by using an oxygenating oral rinse such as TheraBreath or TheraBRITE. This enhances the final results.
Here is a description of each of our whitening products:
1) TheraBreath Dental Professional Whitening Kit
- 3 Bleaching Gel Syringes: 35% urea peroxide blended with desensitizing Potassium Nitrate
- 3 Easy-to-Mold bleaching trays
- 1 tray container
- 1 Remineralization Treatment Syringe: To be used ONLY for those people who have VERY sensitive teeth and desire to whiten their teeth. – NOT necessary if you don’t have sensitive teeth. If used prior to bleaching, requires user to wait a few days before bleaching can begin. OR: Use after completion of bleaching treatment if you have a history of sensitivity. (Contains fluoride and Potassium Nitrate).
2) TheraBreath Dental Professional Whitening Touch Up Pen: Our Easy to Use Paint-On Gel for Instant Whitening. Uses 35% urea peroxide blended with desensitizing Potassium Nitrate and natural mint oil.
|TheraBrite PLUS toothpaste and oral rinse contains an oxygenating formula safely whitens your teeth with the power of oxygen (OXYD-8)!|
TheraBreath products are used by millions of people worldwide. Click here to read some of their success stories.