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What Do Dentists Use To Your Whiten Teeth?

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If you have been considering teeth whitening services at your dentist's office, you may have many questions about the cost, longevity, and safety of the procedure. One concern you may have is what your dentist will use to whiten your teeth. Take a look at the different bleaching agents and why they should only be used with dental supervision:

The Main Bleaching Agents for Tooth Whitening

Many dental offices use either a hydrogen peroxide gel or a carbamide peroxide gel. The hydrogen peroxide is the same chemical that is used for disinfecting and for hair lightening. Carbamide peroxide is made up of hydrogen peroxide and urea, a crystalline nitrogenous compound.

Is One Bleaching Agent Better than Another?

No—both hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide work well at whitening teeth. Which one your dentist uses often depend on whether you want to bleach in-office or at home. For instance, while hydrogen peroxide gels are often used at the office, carbamide peroxide is a safer gel to use for home whitening trays.

Some people prefer hydrogen peroxide since it quickly penetrates the tooth enamel and that means the application time is shorter. But even though carbamide takes a while to break down, some people prefer it since it can achieve more apparent results. However, studies have shown that over time, both products even out and there's no significant difference in tooth shade.

Is a Stronger Concentration Better?

Once you and your dentist decide on a bleaching agent, then a concentration percentage must also be decided. Percentages can range widely, from as little as 6% to as much 44%. If you have very sensitive gums and teeth, then you'll want to opt for a smaller concentration. However, as previously mentioned, one study showed that once whitening products have been used for a while, there won't be much of a change in your tooth shades.

If you are doing in-office whitening, then your dentist may opt to do stronger concentration because your gums will be adequately protected. If you are doing pens or at-home trays, then your dentist will likely prescribe a weaker concentration to make sure you don't develop sensitivity. This weaker concentration shouldn't deter you from at-home trays, though. One study showed that even using as little as 6% of hydrogen peroxide can greatly improve tooth shades.

Is Whitening at a Dentist's Office Better Than Using OTC Products?

While OTC products may cost a little less, their results don't last. And one great problem of OTC whitening gels is that their concentrations are unregulated. If you end up overdoing the whitening, then you could end up with oral inflammation and sensitivity. It's better to go to your dentist's office so that he or she can decide not only which agent will be best for your case, but which concentration will work best for your stains.

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