Part of having a healthy smile is having white, beautiful teeth. While flossing and brushing keep gums and teeth healthy, cosmetic defects can still occur. These cosmetic defects, such as stains from coffee, fruit juice, tea and other highly pigmented foods are largely harmless, they are unsightly, and give the impression of poor hygiene. So, solving these cosmetic problems is a priority that can be handled in a variety of ways. Also, although tooth staining is often purely cosmetic, it can occasionally be indicative of enamel damage or erosion, due to high acid content in the mouth (common with a high sugar diet).
The first step people often take is an over-the-counter option. It’s much easier to just buy different toothpaste than it is to have a dental procedure done, although the various options available to treat stained, discolored teeth have varying degrees of effectiveness and price.
Since most people brush every day, using whitening paste instead of an ordinary paste takes no more time or effort. Whitening pastes are usually around the same price as well, so this option is the route taking by most people who want whiter teeth. But is it effective? Whitening toothpastes either carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide, both of which are bleaching agents. But, the whitening effect is often not due to the actual bleach, but because of the increase in abrasive compounds (since the bleach is not in contact with the teeth long enough to have much effect). So, whitening paste does increase whiteness, but often at the risk of excessive wear on enamel. Toothpaste whitens teeth roughly one shade of brightness.
These use the same carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide found in whitening toothpastes, but the application is different. Instead of being in the mouth for a minute or two, whitening strips are in contact with the teeth for 20 to 30 minutes. This gives the bleaching agents time to have an effect, and negate the need for any abrasion. The teeth are whitened with reduced damage to the enamel, and the effect produces brightness more than one shade.
Trays are equivalent to strips in terms of materials used, but the application is different. The bleaching agent sits in a retainer similar to a sports mouth guard, and can be kept in contact with the teeth for some time, generally overnight. Because of the extended application time, the whitening effect is usually more pronounced than gel strips.
Cosmetic Dentist Whiteners
The dentist will use a combination of hydrogen peroxide-based solution and a light-based activator. Hydrogen peroxide breaks down under light, releasing oxygen and water. Oxygen is a powerful bleaching agent, and leaves the teeth much whiter than they would be after any other type of treatment. Usually whitening done this way is accomplished in a process of several visits, each producing a noticeable effect, and leaving the teeth three to eight shades brighter than the original.