Teeth Whitening Strips – Good or Bad?
Teeth whitening strips are a fairly new invention. Teeth whitening strips are sold over the counter in most drug stores. Proctor and Gamble introduced their first line of teeth whitening strips (Crest Whitestrips) in the year 2000. Since then the market has been flooded with similar products. These include Listerine Teeth Whitening Strips or Rembrandt Teeth Whitening Strips.
Teeth whitening is perfect for young patients who have healthy, cavity free, unrestored teeth (no fillings) and gingival tissues. Studies have shown that patients with yellow tones to their teeth respond best to teeth whitening, whereas gray and see through teeth do not. But this cosmetic procedure is not recommended for everyone. That is where teeth whitening strips come in. They are far less expensive than other options including in office teeth whitening treatments.
Teeth Whitening Strips – What Are They?
The idea behind teeth whitening strips is quite simple. They give a person a way to perform a gradual effective teeth whitening treatment on their own. Teeth whitening strips are very thin, virtually invisible strips, that are coated with a mild peroxide based whitening gel. By wearing the strips as noted on the product packaging, the gel comes into contact with the surface of your teeth and works to slowly take away surface staining. They also remove some stains from within the enamel. The strips are recommended to be applied twice daily for 30 minutes for 14 days. Initial results can be seen in as little as a few days and final results are maintained for about 3-4 months.
The peroxide gel on the teeth whitening strip works by slowly bleaching your teeth. Most teeth whitening strips come in a larger size for the upper teeth and a smaller size for the lower teeth. The patient is instructed to press the teeth whitening strips around your teeth to make a tight contact. The gel then contacts your enamel and begins its work when it heats up to body temperature. Various products contain different amounts of peroxide so usage instructions will vary from brand to brand.
Over the counter teeth whitening strips contain roughly between 3% to 10% hydrogen peroxide. Professional teeth whitening strips (available only through a dentist) usually contain somewhere in the neighborhood of 15%-30% hydrogen peroxide. Teeth whitening procedures conducted in dental offices contain hydrogen peroxide in the range of 20%- 38%. So as you can see by those numbers the rate of effectiveness will vary for each technique.
Teeth Whitening Strips – Are They Effective?
Disadvantages of Teeth Whitening Strips
Teeth whitening strips are a one size fits all entity. So they may not fit everyone exactly the same. Again, read the packaging carefully to find the right size for you. You need to think about how many teeth you need to whiten based on your smile for the length of the strips.
In comparison, dentist observed custom tray systems are molded to fit your mouth perfectly. These leaves zero coverage issues and gives a more uniform end result with consistent bleaching throughout the mouth.
Side Effects From Teeth Whitening Strips
Two main complaints regarding teeth whitening strips are tooth sensitivity and gingival irritation. Teeth sensitivity generally correlates with the strength and amount of peroxide in the bleaching gel. If you have had a history of tooth sensitivity in the past it is best to choose a lower dose peroxide teeth whitening strip. The major cause of gingival irritation occurs when patients apply the strip over the gums or part of the gums. If either of these occur you should stop use of the whitening strips for 24-48 hours. This should be enough time for the sensitivity and irritation to resolve itself.
In conclusion, teeth whitening strips are an effective alternative to the traditional dentist observed teeth whitening systems. As always remember to maintain a good dental hygiene program and visit your dentist and hygienist regularly.