There are plethoras of home teeth whitening products available in the marketplace today to help people who wish to lighten and brighten their smile. As with all products the claims are wide and optimistic but not necessarily predictable or reliable.
1. Home Whitening Kits
Home whitening kits designed by dentists who have a system which allows for the user to fabricate a somewhat custom impression of the teeth to be used as a tray for holding a bleaching compound against the teeth are somewhat reliable and reasonably priced. They can usually be found from TV ads or Internet sites. The downside of these is the lack of supervision and guidance from a professional.
2. Whitening Strips
Whitening strips are available from local pharmacy outlets in markets and chain “drug” stores. These products are also somewhat reliable and reasonably priced but usually take multiple kits to do much of a job (something to keep in mind when considering cost). Crest White Strips would be a good example of such a product.
3. Whitening Toothpastes
Whitening toothpastes are available from many of the major brand toothpaste manufacturers and are probably best used to maintain some whiteness after initial whitening has been accomplished in another manner. You will not see much primary whitening here.
4. Whitening Mouth Rinses
Whitening mouth rinses can also be found but are of questionable value as well, and are not recommended as a whitening product. They can also be viewed as above, in possible maintenance after actual whitening.
5. Home Whitening Kits (From Your Dentist)
Home whitening kits from your local dentist are also available. The cost on these kits is substantially higher than the others but predictability and results are much better. This is due to a custom tray being fitted to each individual patient and a much stronger bleaching agent, which is only available from a licensed dentist. Multiple visits for supervision, instruction and additional bleach supply is also part of the service. They cost more, but predictability and results are superior to other home systems.
All of these systems use organic bleaching compounds developed for safety in oral use. The main difference is the strength of the compound available. “Over the counter” bleaching agents are significantly less strong than that available from the dentist. Stronger bleaching compounds are prescription type products. On occasion (but rarely), patients can develop allergies to the compounds and so stronger compounds do require supervision and instruction in use as they can burn the gums if used in excess and incorrectly.