In the convenience of your own home, you may effectively and efficiently whiten your teeth. It’s crucial to comprehend the many approaches at your disposal—and how to use them securely.
Here is all the information you need to know about teeth whitening at home.
How Does At-Home Teeth Whitening Work?
Both intrinsic and extrinsic stains are possible on teeth. Your teeth’s inherent little porosity, or microscopic fractures, are where intrinsic stains manifest themselves. They impact your tooth’s dentin, which is located underneath the robust enamel covering. Certain drugs, infections, normal aging, inadequate restorations (fillings), and trauma can contribute to intrinsic stains. Some of the compounds that cause intrinsic tooth discoloration, particularly thick, dark gray stains, cannot be broken down by whitening treatments.
Extrinsic stains are those that develop on the outer layer of your teeth, as you would have guessed. You may have more external stains than someone who drinks mostly water if you prefer drinking coffee, tea, cola, and/or red wine on a daily basis. Additionally, using tobacco products and consuming certain meals with vibrant colors including blueberries, beets, curries, and tomato-based sauces may darken teeth. These external stains on your teeth may be removed with the use of at-home whitening treatments.
One of two substances—hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide—is the active ingredient in the majority of teeth-whitening preparations. These substances’ oxygen molecules interact with the molecules in your tooth’s stained tissue. The stain molecules are gradually removed from your teeth when the whitening chemical molecules weaken the connections holding them to your teeth.
These two substances don’t vary all that much. In actuality, carbamide peroxide contains hydrogen peroxide. The fundamental difference between these two substances is that carbamide peroxide has a longer shelf life while hydrogen peroxide degrades more quickly. For a long-term at-home gadget that you will use, a dental practitioner may advise carbamide peroxide.
The exception to the peroxide rule is toothpastes. The majority of toothpastes that claim to whiten teeth instead use abrasives like silica to mechanically remove stains from the enamel layer of your teeth rather than a whitening ingredient.
Your dentist probably offers teeth whitening methods, but for convenience and cost-effectiveness, many consumers choose at-home whitening kits. An over-the-counter treatment could be effective if a person has good, healthy teeth and dental structure, according to Detroit cosmetic dentist Robert DiPilla. But over-the-counter medications may exacerbate conditions like dental work, gingivitis, tooth sensitivity, or decay in those who already have them.
Best Ways to Whiten Your Teeth at Home
There are several choices available when deciding which at-home whitening solution is best for you. You may pick by focusing on your budget, ideal treatment duration, and whitening objectives. Ask your dentist what over-the-counter (OTC) products they would suggest based on your particular oral health.
Teeth Whitening Kit
An over-the-counter whitening kit may include a mouthguard-like tray that is filled with a peroxide-based gel or paste. For up to a month, the tray is placed over your teeth for a few minutes to several hours each day, until you get the desired level of whiteness.
Joe G. Willardsen, a cosmetic dentist in Las Vegas, recalls that patients once slept for eight hours at a time with whitening trays in. “Now, individuals wear them more regularly for 15 or 20 minutes at a time.”
The cost of kits with trays varies greatly. For $25, you can purchase “boil and bite” kits that you boil at home in hot water and then mold to fit your mouth when the tray becomes malleable. Combo kits that start at $150 include an LED light mouthpiece (intended to speed the whitening process, though research on the effectiveness of light activation is mixed) and a whitening pen.
Teeth Whitening Strips
Because of their low cost, simplicity of use, and impressive effects, teeth whitening strips are a popular at-home whitening method. The peroxide-based solution in these plastic strips penetrates your enamel when you apply the gel side to your teeth for benefits that may last up to many months.
Similar to trays, strips expose your teeth to a whitening agent over an extended period of time. Your dental strip’s instructions will tell you how many days and for how long each day you should wear the strips for best results. They are typically worn twice a day for a brief time of between 10 and 30 minutes. You’ll follow this routine every day for around two weeks. Prices for strips vary from $10 to $70.
Teeth Whitening Pen
Using whitening pens for touch-ups and upkeep while on the road might be useful. They are, however, less effective in whitening and are often not suggested as a stand-alone whitener. Without a barrier or bumper to prevent lips from coming into contact with the gel, Willardsen claims that saliva will soon dilute it.
However, due to the low pricing of the pens (as little as a few dollars per pen) and the straightforward instruction to apply twice daily for two weeks, compliance is often high. The basis of most whitening pens is either hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide.
Teeth Whitening Toothpaste
According to a 2019 assessment of contemporary principles in teeth whitening published in Dentistry Journal, abrasives such hydrated silica, perlite, and alumina are the most crucial toothpaste constituents when it comes to stain removal.
But it’s crucial to choose a toothpaste with the right quantity of abrasives. Long-term usage of a toothpaste with a greater abrasivity might harm your enamel. The loss of an enamel to reveal the underlying layer of dentin would be more harmful, even if there is a trade-off between reduced abrasivity and a higher likelihood of developing stains. So, we advise you to seek for toothpaste that removes stains that has the ADA Seal of Acceptance. For advice on how often to use toothpaste that doesn’t have the ADA Seal of Acceptance, speak with your dentist.
The American Dental Association guarantees that toothpastes it has authorized won’t weaken or harm your enamel when used properly. As mentioned above, some whitening toothpastes also include small amounts of hydrogen or carbamide peroxide, which further brightens your smile.