What Are Teeth Whitening Kits
Most people want a bright, white smile but with even the best oral hygiene routine, tooth staining or discoloration can occur over time. Fortunately, there are professional treatments as well as at-home options people can use to whiten their teeth. Whitening kits are an increasingly popular option that offers patients a simple, convenient way to brighten their teeth. While convenient and easy to use, whitening kits may not provide optimal results. Read on to learn more about teeth whitening kits, how they work, and how effective they are.
Teeth Whitening Kit Overview
While available in various forms, whitening kits are typically comprised of trays that are filled with a bleaching agent and worn over the teeth for a period to remove staining. Included amongst the types of whitening kits are:
- Kits with moldable trays: These kits use plastic trays that are heat-molded to the patient’s teeth. After being fitted on the teeth, the trays can be removed and refilled with bleaching gel as needed.
- Kits with pre-filled trays: Instead of being molded to the patient’s teeth, these one-size-fits-all kits come with trays pre-filled with bleaching gel. Because of their design, these kits are often a convenient solution for people on the go.
- Kits with trays and LED lights: These kits resemble mouth guards and have a LED light attached which helps activate the whitening agent in the trays. These kits are growing in popularity because they may offer better results than other whitening options.
How a Whitening Kit Works
A whitening tray functions by holding the whitening agent in constant contact with the surface of the patient’s teeth. The primary bleaching agents in many kits are carbamide peroxide and hydrogen peroxide. Rapid acting whitening gels typically have a higher concentration of hydrogen peroxide which makes them effective at removing both surface stains as well as deep discoloration.
Typically hydrogen peroxide, the bleaching agent in moldable and pre-filled trays triggers once in contact with the teeth. Since they are made to snugly fit around the teeth and maintain contact, the trays are fairly effective. Kits using LED lights have similar designs but vary in that LED light is supplemented to boost the effectiveness of the whitening gel.
The majority of whitening kits are worn between 5 to 14 days. While the bleaching agents used in the kits often take less than one hour to work, the number of treatments (i.e. number of days), will vary from kit to kit.
Are Whitening Kits Effective?
There are several brands of teeth whitening kits on the market but when making a selection, patients should strictly adhere to the instructions to maximize the results. Like any whitening option, results with whitening kits can vary from patient to patient. How effective a kit is, will typically depend on its level of hydrogen peroxide concentration and how well the patient follows the instructions.
Patients would be wise to discuss the various whitening options with their dentist. It can also help to read credible and trustworthy reviews about the various whitening kits to narrow down the options.