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Teeth whitening

There are a burgeoning number of teeth whitening treatments to choose from.

How are home teeth whitening kits different from in-office whitening?

Christopher Baer (Aurora, CO) on Jun 9, 2012
Yes they are. The difference is typically in the strength of the whitening agent and sometimes the whitening agent itself is different. There are two kinds of home whitening- the over the counter, store brands that are typically one size fits all strips that my give some people good results. The second kind which we offer in our office are custom fit trays that conform to your teeth. These trays hold the bleach up against the teeth and if well made, will help prevent the bleach from leaching out into your mouth. You typically use these trays for 1-2 hours every day for two- four weeks depending on the color you desire. There is often minimal tooth sensitivity and the results are great if you are consistent. This is also the best method if you have any areas of gum recession or sensitive teeth. The In-Office Whitening systems vary as well. Some are activated by a light or laser, while others are activated chemically by mixing two agents together. This type of tooth whitening typically uses stronger whitening agents and that is why we do it in to office, to prevent possible problems. It only takes about 90 minutes to complete. However, you may experience more sensitivity with this process, but it takes the least amount of time and the results are great!
Amanda Seay (Mount Pleasant, SC) on Jun 9, 2012
There are a couple of differences. In-office whitening kits are custom made specifically to fit your teeth which ensures the most intimate contact of bleaching gel to the tooth surface (which ensures better results). They are also trimmed to avoid any contact with the gum tissue to avoid irritation and pain from the bleach. Finally, the in-office systems have a higher concentration of bleach.
Aziza Askari (Farmington Hills, MI) on Jun 9, 2012
Home whitening kits are effective on some stains. If youâ''re looking for a fast fix for minor stains, home whitening might work. Dentist-prescribed home whitening and in-office whitening is more potent than over-the-counter systems. If you find that drugstore whitening products donâ''t do the job, ask Dr. Askari about potent home bleaching and custom trays or, for instant results, in-office KoR Deep Bleaching or Zoom! Whitening.
Les Latner (Los Angeles, CA) on Jun 9, 2012
In many cases, the strength of the home whitening is similar to the in-office whitening. The light in the in-office treatments are said to enhance the whitening, helping to make it work faster than the home whitening. Thus, in many cases the home whitening might take two weeks to achieve a level of whitening that will take one hour in-office. Les Latner, DDS
Kamini Talati (Port Saint Lucie, FL) on Jun 9, 2012
There are two types of whitening procedures: In-office and take-home trays. I prefer the take-home trays because it allows me to control the level of whitening. Some patients do not want perfectly white teeth, only a slightly brighter smile. Additionally, if a patient experiences any sensitivity during the take-home whitening process, he can use the trays every other day to increase comfort.
Michael Apa (New York, NY) on Jun 9, 2012
Leonard Tau (Philadelphia, PA) on Jun 9, 2012
1) Whitening toothpastes When I whiten teeth I always ask patients what whitening methods they have used in the past. Most say they have used whitening toothpaste. Whitening toothpastes typically whiten through abrasion. They contain tiny abrasive particles ( aluminum oxide, calcium carbonate, etc). The scrubbing motion of the bristles in combination with the particles can scour debris off the surface of teeth. Some whitening toothpastes contain peroxide. But they deliver a small amount of peroxide due to the limited amount of time most people spend brushing their teeth. These whiteners do not create a dramatic color change. 2) At home strips In my opinion, they do not work all that well. Crest WhiteStrips is the most popular brand. The strips are made of polyethylene that have been coated with a thin film of hydrogen peroxide with a concentration ranging anywhere from 3 to 10%. Professional and prescription whitening strips usually contain a 15% concentration of hydrogen peroxide. Strips do work, but it can take a very long time to see results. They may end up costing as much as in-office whitening, because it takes so many strips to produce the desired whitening effect. But the main issue with most strips is that they only whiten the six front teeth and work best on straight teeth. If one tooth is misaligned the strip will not sit well and the strip will be less effective. Side effects include tooth sensitivity and gum irritation. 3) In-office treatments There are several kind of office whitening treatments. Tray whitening is the cheapest, at about $250. The patient comes in and has impressions taken of their mouth. Custom trays are made from those impressions. The patient can either wear the trays for 30 minutes during the day or overnight. Results are normally seen within two weeks. The active ingredient is either carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide. Touchups are needed a few times a month. Zoom was originally designed for people who did not want to wait for two weeks to see results. It is faster but more expensive ($650). Zoom whitens in three 15-minute sessions done during one appointment. Zoom uses a 25% hydrogen peroxide whitener. There is some controversy whether the light actually does something. Zoom is not made for very dark teeth. If you do not touch up teeth periodically, the results will start to fade. Some people find Zoom painful. KoR Whitening Deep Bleaching is the latest whitening system on the market, and in my opinion, the most effective. KoR is great for people who want longer-lasting whitening or who have deeply stained teeth. It's even effective on tetracycline-stained teeth. First, an impression is taken of your mouth. The impression is sent to the KoR lab, which makes your custom trays. Once the trays are finished, the patient bleaches at home for up to six weeks (depending on how stained the teeth are). Afterward, the patient returns for the "wow" visit , which is three 20-minute sessions of a dual activated carbamide peroxide. We tell patients the color goes from ordinary to extraordinary during this visit. KoR costs between $1,000 and $1,500, including the at-home system. The patient should maintain the whitening by using the custom trays at least once a month.