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Home teeth whitening kits are illuminating

Jul 17, 2012

July is Cosmetic Dental Month at the Dentist Insurance Store. In observance of this bright occasion we are shining the sparkling beacon of oral awareness on popular cosmetic dental procedures like teeth whitening, veneers, bonding, crowns and implants. Today’s post focuses on home-kit teeth whitening products. 

Photo Source: Teeth Whitening Cost

 Is this a great country or what?

Not only is it possible to have dazzling white teeth, but home-whitening kits allow you to self-administer whitening compounds that will give you a gleaming, glistening grill with just a little time and effort.

These self-whitening miracles in a box include popular toothpastes, paint-on whiteners and strips, and light-activated products worthy of Star Wars’ inhabitants.

May the whitening force be with you, Pearlie Skywalker.

Even better, all of the products above are affordable and simple enough to use that even the U.S. government could manage it.

Whitening Toothpastes Most whitening toothpastes use mild abrasives that will remove surface stains but will not whiten teeth more than a shade or two. Whitening toothpastes are most effective for keeping teeth white between treatments.

Some toothpastes use non-abrasive, non-acidic ingredients like Citroxain and some may contain ingredients which help prevent staining.

Most toothpastes contain hydrogen peroxide. Carbamide peroxide is generally used to bleach teeth while hydrogen peroxide is a more basic tooth whitening ingredient. 

Pros: Affordable and convenient.  Cons: Require multiple uses, sometimes over several months, to obtain the desirable whitening effect. 

Whitening Strips & Paint-Ons Whitening strips have gained in popularity each year because most people achieve the desired results when using the products as directed.  Daily use for one to three weeks is required to achieve the maximum effect. Strips contain various concentrations of peroxide and those with higher concentrations whiten faster. 

Over the counter whitening products that use peroxide generally range from 10 percent up to slightly less than 22 percent. Professional whitening products use as much as 43 percent peroxide. 

Paint-Ons are highly effective at whitening teeth and the newer ones can work in as little as 30 seconds per application. Prices and reviews vary widely, even on the same product, but the main problem with paint-ons is to avoid letting your lips touch your teeth until the paint dries.

Unless you want your lips to outshine your teeth. Like Angelina Jolie.

Pros: Affordable, convenient and effective when used properly. Cons: May cause teeth sensitivity, hard to apply on crooked teeth (can cause uneven whitening) and whitens only front teeth (those with wide smiles may have visibly unwhitened teeth.)

Gels Gels containing a peroxide-bleaching agent are applied into a mouth guard-like tray and inserted over your teeth. The tray may be shaped to fit your teeth or may be a one-size-fits-all (Is there ever a one-size fits all anything that actually fits?)

The tray-based systems are available over the counter or from your dentist. Users wear the trays over their teeth for a prescribed period of time ranging from a couple of hours a day to overnight for up to a month or longer.

Pros: More effective than whitening strips and whitens all your teeth. Cons: Can be messy, especially the one-size-fits-none variety. Another disadvantage is if the gel comes in contact with your gums it may cause tooth sensitivity.

If you choose to whiten those pearlies with mouthpiece trays, we recommend consulting with your dentist so they can take an impression of your teeth and customize a mouthpiece to fit your teeth precisely. This will ensure the gel makes maximum contact with your teeth and minimizes the possibility of the gel contacting your gums and soft tissue.

Home Light-Activated Kits 

Light-activation home-kits are the new kids on the teeth whitening block. They include a blue wave light and a gel solution that is partially light-activated. The light from the mouthpiece activates the bleaching compounds in the gel, maximizing the whitening effect in the shortest amount of time.

Pros: Easy to use, convenient and relatively affordable. Cons: Results vary by product, and because these kits also use mouth guards, they can also be messier than a cheap dye job over a dollhouse sink.

As mentioned in the initial post in this series, it’s always recommended you ask your dentist before using any home-kit whitening system. Your dentist can provide realistic expectations for your tooth whitening experience, and also help guard you against potential side effects like tooth sensitivity and gum irritation.

Thanks for reading Agent Straight-Talk and remember to give a stranger one of your smiles because it may be the only sunshine he sees all day. Email me at:

Find me on Twitter at Twitter@ToothTeller

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Copyright 2012, Bloom Insurance Agency, LLC

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