Want to get the perfect smile with sparkling white teeth? If yes, you must’ve wondered how to whiten your teeth and if there is a safe way to get it done at home. If yes, you are not alone, as teeth stains and yellowing is reasonably common and over the counter whitening gels can work wonders in specific scenarios.
However, using teeth whitening gels and products without the proper consultation of a doctor can have serious implications. Teeth whitening products usually use hydrogen peroxide, which can not just whiten your teeth from inside out, but also work on penetrating the enamel of the teeth.
This helps to get the perfect white teeth that you always dreamed of, removing stains and eliminating bacteria from the mouth. So if you are considering whitening your teeth, there are three options available:
- Using over the shelf whitening kits
- Professional at-home whitening treatments
- A whitening treatment with a professional dentist
So when going for a tooth whitening treatment or buying a teeth whitening gel, here are a few things you must consider:
How Does a Tooth Whitening Gel Work?
A teeth whitening gel is a dental paste or gel that includes ingredients that help to bleach and clean the teeth. Most of these gels contain a few common elements that help improve to get the white shine that most are looking for. The teeth whitening gel removes stains effectively and are strong enough even to penetrate the enamel.
Some of the ingredients used in these gels are:
- Carbamide Peroxide or Hydrogen Peroxide
- Potassium nitrate and Amorphous calcium phosphate
Of these, the use of hydrogen peroxide is most well known. Hydrogen peroxide helps eliminate bacteria from the mouth, helps ailments such as gingivitis, and even reduces bad breath.
However, it bleaches teeth through a reaction with existing stains and changes their chemical structure to remove any discoloration. This is one of the reasons why it needs to be used in mild amounts as it can have a strong reaction to your gums and teeth.
While DIY teeth whitening products and gels often have a limited amount of hydrogen peroxide, quick action gels that are commonly used by dentists contain this in between 15% to 38%.
This is one of the reasons why the whitening process is faster, but can also cause more sensitivity. Amorphous calcium phosphate and potassium nitrate are thus used to reduce the sensitivity but is again suggested to be done at a clinic rather than at home.
Pros of Using Teeth Whitening Gels
Teeth whitening gels for mild use are fantastic as it can help you get the desired results without a complicated procedure. The limited amount of chemicals make it ideal for home use and can help you to:
- Whiten individual teeth: Some users may want to whiten individual teeth, and dental gels and whitening products can help to do that.
- Easy application: Although it may seem complicated, dental gels and trays are relatively easy to use. It doesn’t require any complicated process and only needs the individual to follow the routine suggested by the dentist.
- Can be used for regular use: Whitening gels with mild chemicals are ideal for long term use. These pastes and gels are great as an add on to your usual dental regime and should be used after brushing your teeth.
The Cons of Teeth Whitening Gels
As teeth whitening gels use chemicals and bleaches, the overuse of it can result in some health issues. According to the American Dental Association, hydrogen peroxide and other bleaching agents used in common tooth whitenings gels and trips can cause:
- Irritation to the gums
- Can cause irritation or burning sensation if the gel is misapplied or if the tray is ill-fitting and left on for a long duration
- The pain levels can shoot up without any symptoms as well, and can especially appear if drinking or eating freezing products like ice cream or icy drinks
- Tooth sensitivity and mild irritation to the teeth post the treatment. Patients are thus advised not to have soft foods or liquids during the procedure.
Additionally, teeth whitening products for home use may affect mild discoloration, but durable brown or yellowing of the teeth needs to be handled with dental treatment. They aren’t valid on veneers, fillings, crowns, or any discolorations caused due to medications or injury.
How to Use Teeth Whitening Gels?
Now that you have understood the pros and cons of tooth whitening gels, it is time to make an informed decision. Some advanced tooth whitening treatments at home are now undertaken with the supervision of the dentist.
The dentists guide the patients for DIY teeth whitening treatments using mild ingredients to ensure the same effect can be achieved in due course.
Before you start any bleaching or teeth whitening treatment, see your dentist and make a custom tray to fit your mouth neatly, and cover the contours of your mouth.
There are one-size-fits-all trays available in the market which are suitable for using mild gels. Still, for products with a higher concentration of hydrogen peroxide, it is suggested to follow a proper procedure.
Next, make sure you pick a teeth whitening gel that is low on hydrogen peroxide (0.1%) along with other chemicals. Although this means the effect is limited and only visible if the yellowing is not too strong, it is the ideal suggestion for home use.
Depending on the product, you can apply the gel and wear the tray for a few hours or overnight as per the prescription.
Remember to brush your teeth before the procedure at all times. Also, the gel should not be swallowed, so one should rinse the mouth properly after the treatment. Use a gentle cloth or soft toothbrush to ensure there is no residue on the teeth or gums.
For a comprehensive guide on how to use tooth whitening gels at home, check out a DIY teeth whitening guide. These guides provide in detail the use of dental products that help to whiten the teeth while ensuring complete safety. With some little work, say goodbye to yellow teeth and revitalize your smile!