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Comprehensive Guide to Teeth Whitening Systems

‘Tooth whitening’ is not a new phrase to anyone as many of us are very familiar with teeth whitening systems and products such as toothpaste, strips, rinses, over-the-counter gels and even whitening products obtained from dentists.

However, many of us don’t have the knowledge that tooth whitening is not for everyone. Therefore, this article helps you to know if tooth whitening is for you or not, and it discusses whitening systems and why you should choose a dentist-supervised whitening system over over-the-counter whitening kits.

Whitening Systems

Whitening Toothpaste

Toothpaste is manufactured with mild abrasives to remove surface stains, but some whitening toothpaste contains gentle polishing or chemical agents for more effective stain removal. More so, whitening toothpaste does not contain bleach but over-the-counter whitening products contain carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide that lightens the color of the tooth by one shade. If you need more than one shade lightening (i.e. three to eight shades lighter), then go for prescription-strength whitening atBrook Hollow Family Dentistry.

Over-the-Counter Whitening Strips and Gels

Whitening gels are transparent peroxide-based gels that are applied directly to the surface of a patient's tooth. The modalities on how to get the desired result from whitening gels depend on the strength and ratio of peroxide in the gel, and every instruction must be followed carefully. The initial whitening effect is seen in a few days but the result is gotten after three to four months of using the gel.

Whitening strips, on the other hand, is a tiny and virtually invisible strips that are coated with whitening gel and applied on the teeth according to the instruction on the label. The duration of use before a visible result is the same as whitening gels.

Whitening Rinses

Whitening rinses are among the newest whitening products in the market today, they help to freshen breath, reduce dental plaque, and prevent gum diseases. They contain peroxide, which can whiten teeth but may take up to 12 weeks to see the result.

To use whitening rinses, swish them around in your mouth for 60 seconds before brushing your teeth. Many dentists believe that whitening rinses are not as effective as other whitening solutions because of its short time contact with the teeth.

Tray-Based Tooth Whiteners

Tray-based tooth whitening products are purchased from over-the-counter or from dentists. The process involves filling a mouth guard-like tray with a peroxide-based whitening gel solution, which acts as a bleaching agent. The tray is worn for a couple of hours per day especially during the night hours for up to four weeks or more.

In-Office Whitening

The quickest way to whiten teeth in San Antoniois by visiting Brook Hollow Family Dentistry and undergoing an in-office tooth bleaching. The dentist will apply the whitening product directly to your teeth, and he may apply it in combination with special light or laser. This type of tooth whitening is the most expensive and effective too because you’ll see a good result after the first treatment.

At Home Vs. Dentist Supervised Teeth Whitening

You would agree with me that do-it-yourself tooth whitening methods would not yield the same result with professionally supervised tooth whitening. Here are some of the differences between the two methods:

Strength of Bleaching Agents

In-office tooth whitening products contain a higher percentage concentration of hydrogen peroxide ranging from 15%to 43%. While over-the-counter products usually contain a lower concentration of hydrogen peroxide of about 3%.

Mouthpiece Tray

A San Antonio Cosmetic Dentist working with the Brook Hollow Family Dentistry will make a perfect impression of your teeth, make a mouthpiece tray, and ensure that tray is customized to allow for maximum contact between your teeth and the whitening gel applied to the mouthpiece tray. This would also minimize the gel making contact with the gum tissues and irritating.

However, over-the-counter mouthpiece trays are a one-size-fit-all product. They will never give you the perfect fit.

Additional Protective Measures

In a San Antonio Dentist’s office, the dentist will apply a gel to the gum tissue or use a rubber shield to protect the gum before whitening your teeth. However, over-the-counter products don’t offer such services.


In-office teeth whitening is a costly procedure while over-the-counter teeth whitening is relatively cheap.

Supervised vs. unsupervised process

In a supervised teeth-whitening process, the dentist will evaluate your medical history to determine if bleaching is right for you. He or she may consider the type and extent of stains, number, and location of restorations, and then match his/her evaluations with appropriate treatment to lighten your teeth. However, over-the-counter bleaching procedure leaves you on your own with high risks of damaging your denture permanently.

Risks Associated With Whitening

Mild irritation of the soft tissues of the mouth (particularly the gum) and increase in tooth sensitivity are the two major side effects of teeth whitening. You will notice tooth sensitivity at the early stages of the tooth whitening, but tissue irritation comes up if you’re wearing an ill-fitting mouthpiece tray. However, once you complete your treatment, all these conditions will disappear within 1 to 3 days.

To reduce tooth sensitivity, you can do the following:

Choosing an Over-the-Counter Whitening Kit

We advise you to choose a product that is customized to fit your teeth perfectly. You may get a product that allows the tray to be molded to some degrees. If you’re not sure about the kit you’re hoping to buy, look for online reviews and hear what real users are saying about the product.

More so, if you notice discolored gum and a high degree of tooth sensitivity when taking hot or cool food, then stop using the teeth whitening kit and seek the intervention of a San Antonio Cosmetic Dentist .

Dentist Near Me

We serve in Thousand Oaks, Hill Country Village, Hollywood Park, Live Oak, Stone Oak and all areas near San Antonio, Texas.