Risky Business

Teeth Whitening Treatments

I’ve broken teeth whitening

“I want my teeth as white as paper!” A statement I’ve heard many times . . . It’s a bit unrealistic for most, but needless to say, I think everyone wants a brighter, more youthful looking smile, and bleaching can help accomplish that.

I’ve broken teeth whitening treatments options down into three categories, over-the-counter, in-house, and the mall, (which is any place outside the dental office). Evaluating these options should help make good, safe, economical decisions when it comes to teeth whitening treatment options.

Over-the-Counter products are bought at the supermarket or drugstore. They are readily available and come in the form or gel, toothpaste, rinse, strips, pen, paint or molds. Although very safe, manufactures are aware consumers are not under the watchful eye of a licensed dentist thus distributing a product with very low “whitening power” ingredients. Consumers should realize they could probably get a better, less expensive result from 3.5% hydrogen peroxide and/or baking soda if going down this avenue.

  • Easily accessible
  • Safe
  • Vary in cost
  • Subtle whitening effects
  • Doesn’t work for most
  • Repeat purchases add up
  • Concentration of “whitening power” is low

The mall now has kiosks that offer teeth bleaching. For about $100, people can get bleaching treatment in an hour. The treatment usually includes uniform bleach trays and an acceleration light/laser (similar to that at the dentist’s office).

  • Less money than in-house
  • Higher concentration of bleach
  • Teeth will whiten
  • Can buy new shoes right next door
  • Unregulated
  • Soft tissue burns
  • Teeth sensitivity for some
  • Molds are not custom made
  • Not under the direct care of a dentist
  • Non-sterile environment
  • Misinformation from kiosk employees

In-house teeth whitening procedures are done at the dental office. It’s usually a two hour appointment, one hour to prep the patient and another to do the bleaching. From anywhere between $400 – $800, patients relax under the acceleration light/laser as the bleaching process takes affect. Gel is applied to the teeth by a dental assistant every twenty minutes to regulate the process and make sure the patient is comfortable. The gums and cheeks are usually protected by gauze and a resin damn. At the end of the session patient can be given sensitivity paste or other helpful products and have the option of taking custom made bleaching trays and bleach home to continue the process or touch-up as needed.

  • Under dental professional supervision
  • Soft tissue is protected
  • Post treatment care is given
  • High concentration of bleach
  • Teeth will whiten
  • Can be costly
  • Teeth sensitivity for some



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