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Teeth Whitening or Teeth Bleaching What is the Difference?

April 16, 2019

Nothing enhances a smile by brightening it up with teeth whitening. If you have ever tried to brighten your teeth before using those over the counter messy liquids, pastes, pens, or strips, then you will appreciate what dentist dispensed systems have to offer.

First of all, we need to understand the difference between what is considered teeth whitening and what teeth bleaching are.  Teeth whitening usually references brightening a tooth’s shade back to its natural color by the removal of stains and discolorations. These discolorations may take years to develop, and give your teeth a dull appearance.  Teeth bleaching, on the other hand, refers to techniques that brightens the teeth shade PAST the naturally occurring color of the teeth to a more lighter brighter shade.  Because tooth whitening sounds so much friendlier than tooth bleaching, the terms have become synonymous over the years and most people just use the term teeth whitening instead.

Stains and discolorations on our teeth have many different types of origins, including, but not limited to age, initial starting color of the teeth, translucency and thinness of the teeth, eating habits, smoking habits, drugs / chemicals, grinding, and trauma to the teeth.  Also keep in mind that the causes listed above fall either into one of two group, internal staining, and external staining.

Dentist dispensed whitening systems either takes advantage of custom trays fabricated to perfectly fit the contours of your teeth or chairside power whitening systems vs. over the counter systems.

Take home systems usually take advantage of custom molds of your teeth. Trays that are fabricated from these molds are in a thin comfortable clear acrylic. The Take home systems include a proprietary gel that is dispensed into reservoirs in the clear trays. Such systems allow for results in as little as a week to as long as 2 weeks for good solid change in color.  Every mouth is different, so results vary depending on the teeth involved, original color, existence of restorative filling materials or crowns on the teeth, etc.

Chairside power whitening systems is another option for those who want results, but hesitate on waiting for results because of the time commitment needed.  An example of this is Zoom! Whitening. This scientifically advanced tooth whitening procedure is safe, effective and fast. In about an hour, your teeth will become dramatically whiter. Zoom! is ideal for anyone who is looking for immediate results.

If you drink coffee, tea, or red wine, or if you smoke, you may be able to benefit from this safe and effective procedure. Not everyone is a candidate for the Zoom! Chairside Tooth Whitening System, and if you fall into that category, then the Take Home system may be the product for you.

Extensive research and clinical studies show that whitening your teeth under the supervision of a dentist is safe. In fact, many cosmetic dentists consider tooth whitening the safest cosmetic dental procedure. As with any tooth whitening product it is not recommended for children under 13 years of age and pregnant or lactating women.