What are Teeth Whitening Products?

Physical appearance is important for most people and one aspect is having a bright, healthy smile. Because of this, one of the main aesthetic concerns people face is removing staining or discoloration from their teeth. Fortunately, there are several at-home and professional teeth whitening fishers in options available that offer patients easy and effective ways to noticeably brighten their smile. Read on to learn more about some of the common causes of tooth discoloration as well as popular whitening options.

Common Causes of Tooth Discoloration

Tooth staining or discoloration can be intrinsic or extrinsic. Intrinsic staining refers to discoloration which affects the inner layers of the teeth (the dentin). Since the stains lie under the tooth enamel, intrinsic staining will not respond to most whitening treatments and likely require more extensive dental intervention to correct.

Extrinsic stains are those that occur on the surface layer of the teeth. Luckily, these stains can often be removed with whitening products or treatments. Included amongst the causes of extrinsic discoloration are:

  • Smoking or chewing tobacco
  • Red wine
  • Coffee or tea
  • Dark sodas or colas
  • Dark vegetables or fruits (such as beets or blackberries)

Popular Teeth Whitening Products/Treatments

  • Whitening Toothpastes and Rinses: Several brands of whitening toothpaste and mouth rinses are available that can be implemented into the patient’s oral cleaning routine. Whitening toothpaste often relies on mild abrasives that gently remove surface stains from teeth whereas whitening rinses employ hydrogen peroxide or other whitening agents.
  • Whitening Strips: Small plastic strips that contain peroxide, these convenient at-home options are placed directly over the teeth. The strips are typically worn for 30-60 minutes daily for one to two weeks.
  • Whitening Trays: Resembling a mouth guard the patient wears, teeth whitening trays contain bleaching agents and are available over-the-counter or through a dentist. The advantages of trays made by a professional are that they are customized to the patient’s teeth based on impressions taken and contain higher peroxide concentrations. Much like whitening strips, whitening trays are worn daily for a couple of weeks to achieve desired results.
  • Chewing Gum: Teeth can be whitened in several ways by chewing sugar-free whitening gum. For starters, chewing gum after a meal stimulates the production of saliva needed to flush away food debris and bacteria. Secondly, the bleaching ingredients in the gum can coat the teeth which prevents future staining. And finally, chewing whitening gum following meals can help prolong the results of other whitening procedures the patient may have employed.
  • Professional In-Office Procedure: Generally the most expensive option, a professional whitening procedure performed in the dentist’s office typically offers the best results. To protect them from the harsh bleaching agent, the dentist will place protective coatings on the lips and gums during treatment. Then, the whitening gel is applied to the teeth. In some cases, a high-intensity light may be used to activate and expedite the treatment. The concentration of peroxide is typically much higher with in-office treatments. As such, the results are typically more noticeable when compared to over-the-counter products the patient can use from home.

Can You Teeth Whiten Professionally at Home?