The simplest way to separate teeth whitening products is into dental or non-dental whitening treatments. Non-dental teeth whitening treatments can only contain a maximum of 6 percent hydrogen peroxide, which limits the whitening effect they can achieve. The teeth whitening treatments offered in a dental practice can contain up five to six times the concentration of hydrogen peroxide meaning the treatment is faster, changes are more dramatic and the results in many cases last for years.
Teeth whitening at non-dental providers can’t provide long-lasting and natural-looking teeth whitening because they are not allowed to offer the high-strength whitening treatment that dentists are allowed to deliver. And if the staff aren’t properly trained there is a risk of light or chemical burns if the gums and lips are not properly protected prior to treatment.
Other take-home products such as trays or tooth-paste take weeks or months to achieve a whitening effect. This is inconvenient for most people and the results are not consistent because there are certain types of staining that are resistant to this type of whitening.
The Gold Standard In Teeth Whitening
The gold standard for teeth whitening remains light-based, in-chair teeth whitening treatments at a dental practice. These treatments can make teeth a number of shades whiter in around one hour. Zoom was the market leader in previous years for in-chair teeth-whitening. The up and coming market leader is the new Smartbleach 3LT system.
Older-style teeth in-chair whitening systems use an acidic peroxide gel. This creates whitening by dehydrating the tooth, so the results bounce-back in the days following treatment, and the acid can etch the surface of the enamel. A heat lamp is often used to attempt to speed up the whitening process but because the lamp cannot target stains directly it can heat the structure of the tooth, which can cause discomfort due to sensitivity and reduce the overall safety of the treatment.
The Smartbleach 3LT (laser-like light) uses a wavelength of light that targets stained molecules in the tooth structure without heating the healthy tooth structure. Additionally, it uses a special non-acidic whitening gel that will not etch the tooth enamel. The unique interaction between the light and the gel produces a whitening effect that is achieved with virtually no dehydrating of the tooth enamel. This means the results will not bounce back and the improvement you see at the dental surgery will be maintained or improve in the days following treatment.