Teeth whitening is rising in its popularity and so discussion about its safety is warranted.
Each product makes different claims about the results they can achieve. So, let’s examine the main types of teeth whitening products currently available and how safe each one is: over-the-counter whitening products, take-home whitening kits and in-chair whitening.
- Whitening toothpastes are available at supermarkets and pharmacies and are typically more expensive than regular ones. In most cases, these can help to slow down the effects of staining, but their ability to change the shade of your teeth is debatable. The results are generally not as predictable or uniform as the two methods discussed below and as a result they can deliver a less natural looking whiteness. The minimal colour change that these products can produce can also mean that people can over use them. This continual application can damage the tooth’s enamel, particularly when using more abrasive whitening toothpastes. However, these over-the counter whitening solutions remain the most affordable methods.
- Take-home whitening kits provided by dentists involves wearing custom-made bleach trays or guards that you place small dollops of bleaching agents into for each use. The most common ingredient in these products is hydrogen peroxide or carbonate peroxide. These kits contain a low-concentration peroxide agent which means you are able to use them at home once approved by a dentist. This low-concentration means you will require more instances of treatments in order to achieve the same whitening result as a highly concentrated gel solution, but this does not make this treatment option any less safe
- In-chair tooth whitening is the best solution if you want instant teeth whitening. This involves the dentist coating your teeth with hydrogen peroxide gel and then shining a high-intensity light source over the top to enhance the whitening process. Hydrogen peroxide is the primary active ingredient responsible for the lightening and whitening effect. This professionally applied gel contains a higher hydrogen peroxide concentration than the take-home bleaching agent – from 25% to 40%. Dentists are the only professionals authorised to handle gels solutions with the higher hydrogen peroxide concentrations (such as Zoom!TM in-chair teeth whitening). As licensed healthcare practitioners, dentists are required to follow stringent safety protocols, including employing gum and lip shields when applying the gels so that the soft tissues in your mouth are protected from burns caused by the highly concentrated gel solution. This strict adherence to safety requirements is what makes teeth whitening in a dental surgery, particularly as opposed to in any other business, the safest option.