Types of Teeth Whitening Treatments
There are three categories of teeth whitening treatments: professional teeth whitening (applied by your dentist), dentist-dispensed or prescribed therapies that you apply at home, and over-the-counter DIY remedies. DIY remedies include rinses, toothpastes, strips, gels and whitening kits any consumer can buy online or from a pharmacy or other retail outlet without a prescription.
The results may vary, and though most DIY teeth whitening therapies are effective, they pale in comparison to the results professional teeth whitening treatments can achieve. Furthermore, the American Dental Association’s (ADA) Council on Scientific Affairs has raised concerns over the long-term impacts on patients using DIY teeth whitening products without the supervision or guidance of a dentist or oral health professional.
The ADA highlighted the potential for at-home teeth bleaching products to have “adverse effects on hard tissue, soft tissue, and restorative materials.”
Nevertheless, if you opt for the do-it-yourself teeth whitening method, your options include:
- Surface whiteners. Typically, surface whiteners are the most affordable types of over-the-counter products. These include gels, toothpastes, rinses, strips and “one-size-fits-all” whitening trays. Not all contain bleaching compounds. For instance, some whitening toothpastes and chewing gums contain bleach-free polishing agents and abrasives to remove stains.
- Bleaching. DIY bleaching products can change the colour of your teeth, but there are no guarantees they will be effective for everyone. In general, the Canadian Dental Association (CDA) recommends tooth bleaching should only be performed by a dentist or under the guidance of a dentist.
- Whitening trays. Unlike custom-made trays that comfortably fit your mouth that your dentist can provide, ready-made whitening trays are intended to be one-size-fits-all, but they have their drawbacks. For instance, they can be uncomfortable in the mouth, and if they don’t fit properly, the peroxide gel can spill out and potentially damage the soft tissues in your mouth. To that end, a clinical assistant professor of dentistry at the University of British Columbia warned that frequent DIY teeth whitening could cause permanent damage to your teeth.