Comparing Teeth-Whitening Products

Posted: December 7, 2018 By: Comment: 0

A close-up view of a woman's mouth with her teeth before teeth whitening and after teeth whitening.

The holiday season is a great time to get a brighter, whiter smile. Parties, gatherings, Christmas, New Years and more are all times when photos will be taken, and you want to look your best. You can brighter your smile through a great teeth-whitening treatment. But how do you know what teeth whitening products are the best? Which ones will get your smile brighter for longer? What works best if you are short on time? Use these tips to decide between different teeth-whitening products and how they differ from in-office treatments!


Toothpastes: Do They Work?

If you’ve used whitening toothpastes for years with no real difference in your smile, your eyes are not deceiving you. Many toothpastes say that they “whiten”, when it could actually be a play on words. To know if a product actually whitens, you’ll have to check the product ingredients. Most toothpastes “whiten” by simply removing food, plaque and very recent stains from your teeth (like from that day). The act of actually removing that gunk is how toothpastes “whiten”.


Generally, toothpastes will have silica gels or other small abrasives that buff your teeth, making them more shiny. With a real whitening toothpaste, look for hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide in the ingredients. Both of these are bleaching agents that can give a slight whitening to your teeth over time. It’s best to use those toothpastes after you’ve done a whitening treatment of some sort in order to keep up your whiteness. If you want a drastic whitening, you want over-the-counter products or in-office teeth whitening.


A teeth whitening kit with clear trays in a retainer case and a gel syringe with whitening solution.

Products at the Store

At the store, always remember that you get what you pay for. There are many over-the-counter products that will whiten your teeth. However, you have to do all the work yourself, and these generally cause quite a lot of tooth sensitivity from the bleaching agents. Most major oral health brands will offer teeth-whitening in strips, gels and whitening trays that are one-size-fits-all.


These types of products may not be suitable for your mouth because of that one offered size. Generally, you will apply the whitening gel in a tray to put in your mouth. If the tray is too large, the gel might squish out or you will have to hold your teeth tight together for the duration of whitening. With strips, you peel off the strips from the plastic and place them against your teeth. You will have to try not to move your mouth much, as strips move very easily and will need adjusting over and over if you don’t want uneven whitening.


If the whitening product uses hydrogen peroxide, you get up to 3% of it. If it uses carbamide peroxide, it can get up to 22%. Be careful with any over-the-counter products. There is no protectant for the gums, and any gel or whitening solution that touches them and stays on them can burn the gums. Make sure to clean off any excess from the gums to avoid that burning. Always follow instructions with whitening, as intense tooth sensitivity can happen and last for days. Over-the-counter products can be effective at whitening over several weeks, but they may not whiten evenly, especially if instructions aren’t followed.

Brunette woman that is wearing protective orange glasses as she is getting a teeth whitening light treatment

Quick In-Office Whitening

Short on time? In-office teeth whitening is your best option for getting a whiter smile when you really don’t have a ton of time. This is the quickest option because only dentists have access to professional whitening products that have a much higher concentration of hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. Usually that concentration is between 15% and 43%, compared to only 2-3% in over-the-counter products.


In-office whitening often is accompanied by whitening lights, which use a combination of special whitening machines working with materials painted onto your teeth. Using light to help whiten teeth is becoming the new trend with in-office whitening, as it can whiten your teeth for years and it can do it rather quick. When you come in for a dental visit, we go through your teeth whitening options with you and you can decide what option you want and how white you want to go.


When doing whitening treatments with light, you can expect about 30-60 minutes of wait time. We place a gentle plastic appliance in your mouth so that it can stay open, and we protect your teeth and gums from the whitening gels. This will involve both a protective rubber or plastic layer attached to your mouth appliance as well as protective pastes we paint onto exposed gum areas between the teeth. After painting a whitening gel on your teeth, we can then use our dental lights to activate the gels. Your teeth then start to whiten as a reaction between the lights and gels used, making the color several shades lighter. When arc lights are used with our whitening gels, the whitening effect can happen almost immediately.


Permanent Whiteness

What if you simply want white teeth but you don’t want to whiten your teeth every few years? There are more permanent cosmetic solutions to have your beautiful, white smile. If you want a more clean-cut smile that comes with the whitening you want, you can always invest in porcelain veneers. This is a service where we take the tiniest layer off of your natural teeth, replacing them with custom-made porcelain shells. Those shells are perfectly shaped to your teeth and will stay strong and white for as long as you have them. This is a service many celebrities and public figures have to give them the perfect smile.


When it comes to bettering your smile in 2019, you can choose teeth-whitening in-office, porcelain veneers, or one of our other cosmetic options. To see all the services we offer, and to know specifics about our teeth-whitening products, call Dr. Ania’s office today at 303-443-0998!




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