In-Store or At Home: Choosing the Best Teeth Whitening Method

February 6, 2019

Deciding which teeth whitening method to use is a bit daunting especially when a great white set of teeth offers so much opportunities to any individuals.  You do not want to make a mistake of your life! So choosing the right one for you entails good decision making.  And we at THE SMILE BAR, would like to breakdown to you the two major schools: the DIY ( the home whitening kits) and the In-office bleaching (getting professional assistance such as a dentist).

What is in bleaching and what could be the major difference?  A person has to know first that the major component of bleaching solutions is hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide.  This chemical can bleach the tooth enamel and change its color.  Off- the shelf products typically rely on a carbamide solution and its concentration ranges from 10% to 44%.

To be very technical, this carbamide peroxide reacts with water to form hydrogen peroxide. The oxidized result penetrates the porosities in the rod-like crystal structure of an enamel and this breaks down the stain deposits in the dentin.  These bleaching solutions may be directly applied on the teeth, embedded in a plastic strip that is placed on the teeth or use a gel held in place by a mouthguard.

How is In-office whitening treatment done?

Before any procedure, a dentist would need to determine the status of his patient’s teeth.  This is done through conducting a health test and determine his dental history.  This would include learning a patient’s allergies and sensitivities, observe the soft and hard tissues, placement and conditions of restorations and sometimes x-rays to determine the nature and depth of possible irregularities.


A shade guide is used to measure tooth color.  These shades show the effectivity of a whitening procedure. This varies from 2 to 7 shades and can last for several months depending on the patient’s lifestyle.

Generally, A light-cured protective layer is carefully painted on the gums and papilla( from the tips of the gum between the teeth) during in-office bleaching procedures.  This reduce the risk of chemical burns to the soft tissues.  The bleaching agent is usually carbamide peroxide and the gels typically contain between 10% to 44% or 3%-16% hydrogen peroxide concentration.

Also, it is good to know that having original greyish tooth color will have very slim chances of bleaching success.  It is those with yellow discolored teeth that bleaching is most effective.  If heavy staining or tetracycline damage is present on a patient’s teeth, bonding, is needed.  Bonding masks tooth stains. A thin coat of composite material is applied on the teeth then cured with blue light.

Veneers are also an option to mask tooth discoloration.

Defining light- accelerated bleaching

Power bleaching, light-accelerated bleaching or colloquially referred to as laser bleaching ( a common misconception since this is of older technology and no longer equal to the current developed technologies), uses light energy that accelerates the process of bleaching in a dental office.  Different types of energy,most common being halogen, LED or plasma arc.


The use of light increases the risk of tooth sensitivity and may not be said to be as effective than bleaching without light when high concentrations of hydrogen peroxide is used.  With a revolutionary formula, and a sophisticated whitening lamp, at THE SMILE BAR, within just 20 minutes, your teeth can be 2 to 9 shades whiter.  Click here to see the results.

Ideally high amount of energy is needed to excite the peroxide molecules without overheating the pulp of the tooth.   Lights within the blue light spectrum has been found to contain the most effective wavelengths to initiate hydrogen peroxide reaction.  Recent advance have minimized heat and ultraviolet emissions, allowing for a shorter procedure.  A single visit to a dental professional can be completed in approximately 30 minutes to one hour.

How about doing it on your own? Are at home kits not as effective?

At-home kit include gels, chewing gums, toothpaste, mouthrinses,paint-on films and whitening strips; these over-the-counter methods are also of carbamide peroxide and hydrogen peroxide composition.  Although these products show evidence of effectivity, it’s usually short term and is subject to a high risk of bias. Majority of the published scientific research were sponsored or conducted by the manufacturers so in reality, there is a greater chance of only achieving placebo effect.

 There is no long term evidence of effectiveness and any demonstrable difference in the short term is only related to the concentration of the active ingredients.

Whitening toothpastes have long existed, what about them?

Toothpaste which are advertised as “whitening” rarely contain carbamide peroxide, hydrogen peroxide or any other bleaching agent.  Rather, they are abrasive.  They contain alumina, dicalcium phosphate dehydrate, calcium carbonate or silica, intended to remove surface stains from the tooth surface. And sometimes they contain enzymes that claims to break down the biofilm on the teeth.

BRILLIANT SMILE, a brand from Sweden, has developed an exclusive gel-based toothpaste that can effectively make your teeth whiter without damaging abrasives and contribute to better oral health. Their WHITENING EVO toothpaste, can be found in THE SMILE BAR. Used twice daily can effectively prevent the formation of discoloration and stains on the teeth and protect teeth against cavities, plaque and tooth sensitivity.

( Sources: “Statement on the Safety and Effectiveness of Tooth Whitening Products”. American Dental Association)

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