A variety of at-home dental whitening products and methods are available on the retail market. Professional teeth whitening systems work better than other methods. Some don’t work at all.
CARBAMIDE PEROXIDE / HYDROGEN PEROXIDE
Dental whitening systems can contain carbamide (urea) peroxide or hydrogen peroxide, they both work equally well. To calculate the active ingredient’s active oxygen content you compare the molecular weights to each other as a percentage of oxygen present. In other words, you take the carbamide peroxide concentration and divide by 2.7668 and that will give you the equivalent strength as hydrogen peroxide. For example Dental White has a 15% carbamide peroxide concentration (the upper limit that would be approved by the FDA, if whitening gels were considered drugs) / 2.7668=5.42% hydrogen peroxide. Those two concentrations will have equal whitening ability, if every thing else was the same. But, not all other ingredients are the same. It is not the concentration that’s the important thing, but the method of application. Dr. George, who developed the 15% concentration in the 1980s for dentists, when they were using only 10% prior to that, recommends the 15% carbamide peroxide or a 6% hydrogen peroxide gel.
The process of peroxide-based teeth whitening is simply a case of cause and effect. Successful teeth whitening requires exposing a tooth’s surface to an appropriate peroxide whitener, for an appropriate duration.
In light of this knowledge, a person might anticipate that they will get the fastest and best whitening results when using the whitening product that contains the strongest concentration of peroxide available. This is not true. All peroxide-based teeth whitening systems have the potential to create side effects. The two most common of these are tooth sensitivity and gum irritation. While the overall goal of any bleaching regimen is to achieve a whitening effect, one must also give consideration to the technique’s reputation for creating side effects.
Not all people will experience side effects associated with the use of peroxide-based teeth whiteners. Higher concentrations of peroxides can produce whitening at a slightly faster rate, higher concentration products are also typically associated with a higher incidence of side effects.
A 22% will give one slightly quicker whitening effects over Dental White’s 15%. BUT the side effects may force you to perform whitening treatments less frequently or terminate treatment all together until the side effects have subsided. Both of these instances could easily cause the total treatment duration to be longer than using Dental White.
STRENGTH & WHITENESS
It is surprising, but the total whitening effect produced by a whitener containing a lower concentration of peroxide (say a tray-based system using a 10% carbamide peroxide whitener) is the same as for a similarly utilized product like Dental White, it just takes a little longer.
Stated more accurately, whiteners (when utilized in conjunction with the same whitening technique) containing a higher concentration of peroxide can possibly whiten teeth to a lighter shade initially, but this level of whiteness will not be stable. This state of maximum whiteness will relapse during those first few days and weeks after the bleaching process has been completed.
Now this type of relapse will occur with any type of peroxide-based teeth whitening, but the amount of relapse is greater with the higher concentration of peroxides. For all practical purposes the end result, using either the higher or lower concentration of peroxide, will be the same.
MOLDABLE BLEACHING TRAYS
A professional teeth whitening system must contain custom moldable bleaching trays for your teeth. The whitening gel is required to stay in contact with the surface of your teeth and away from saliva which contains peroxidase, which breaks down peroxide into plain old oxygen and water. Thus the reason why whitening toothpastes, whitening sprays and swab/paint ones like Simply White are not very effective. Your hair may turn white before your teeth do ;>) There are two types of custom bleaching trays, the ThermoForm (boil ‘n bite) type and the lab processed type. These are the most effective, and can give equal, sometimes dramatic results.
Comparison of Retail Teeth Whitening Products
Find out what happened in a recent comparison of other Teeth Whitening products to Dental White™.
Click the chart below to view it full-size. A new window will appear with the chart. Just close the window when you are finished comparing current retail Teeth Whitening products.
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