Teeth Whitening Strips
The teeth whitening strips are relatively new products in the whitening market, as they have been introduced just before few years (Crest Whitestrips® in 2001), providing a new alternative method for teeth whitening. Their low cost and simple way of use has made them one of the most popular at-home tooth whitening methods. Whitening strips is the second most inexpensive and easy to use tooth whitening system, after the whitening toothpastes.
Tooth whitening strips are very thin, almost invisible strips made of flexible plastic that work by bleaching the front teeth. The strips are coated on the one side with a thin film of a peroxide based whitening gel.
You should always visit your dentist for a complete dental examination before using any over the counter tooth whitening product. The dentist will check for any existing conditions and advise you whether or not your teeth are suitable for tooth bleaching.
Follow carefully the instructions on the product label to avoid teeth whitening side effects.
How teeth whitening strips work?
The bleaching agent used in most of the whitening strips is hydrogen peroxide, one of the ingredients that dentists use in the dental office to remove tooth stains. Of course the concentration of the bleaching agent is much lower for safety reasons, ranging from 6% to 10% hydrogen peroxide.
How to use teeth whitening strips
Whitening strips with hydrogen peroxide up to 10% are available over the counter in drugstores and grocery stores. There are several brand names on the market and all work pretty much the same. Two separate strips are provided, one for the upper and one for the lower teeth with different shape for better fit.
Each whitening strip is positioned across the teeth and then gently pressed into place, trying to achieve the maximum contact with teeth. The whitening results will not be satisfying if the tooth whitener does not get in full contact with the teeth surface. The user must try to limit the contact of the strip with the gums to avoid irritations.
The teeth whitening strips are usually applied twice a day for 30 minutes for a period of 7-14 days depending on the active ingredient’s concentration in each specific product. The 10% hydrogen peroxide whitening strips are used for 7 days whereas the 6% kits have to be used for 14 days (twice as long due to lower concentration).
How effective are tooth whitening strips?
Teeth whitening strips are expected to give an improvement of two or three shades for the 6% variants, and up to 5 shades for the more concentrated 10% strips. The actual result depends on many factors such as the nature of the teeth stains and not only on the concentration of the bleaching agent.
If you do not have any history of side effects (sensitivity or gum irritation) and your dentist approves it, prefer to use the higher concentration variants for faster and better results.
Manufacturers claim that the whitening effect will lasts from 12 to 18 months, but normally the results will last for 6 months.
Advantages of whitening strips vs. tray bleaching systems
- Unlike the tray based whitening systems where the exact amount of the whitener that is placed in the tray by the user is not easily controlled, this is not an issue for whitening strips. The dosing of whitener they deliver per treatment is extremely precise, as it is already applied on them by the manufacturer. Providing a consistent and controlled dosing of whitener is one of the main advantages of whitening strips, minimizing the safety risks associated with usage errors arising from their unsupervised use.
- With whitening strips the bleaching agent comes in less contact with the gums compared to the tray based whitening systems, therefore the possibility of gum irritation is limited.
- Many people feel uncomfortable when using bleaching trays, because they can make speech difficult, cause a jaw joint problem, trigger gag reflex or excessive salivation and they are easily noticed when they are worn. Tooth whitening strips have none of these problem and provide a convenient solution in these cases.
- Teeth whitening strips are inexpensive and provide very good results for their price.
- If they are used according to the manufacturer’s instructions, whitening strips can be much safer than tray based at-home teeth whitening systems. (regarding side effects and product effectiveness)
Disdvantages of teeth whitening strips
- Whitening strips generally cover only six to eight center front teeth. The whitening strips only whiten the teeth they are in direct contact with, so only these front teeth are whitened. This could be a problem especially for those who have a wide smile, because the strips can not cover and whiten all the visible teeth. (A tray based system will deliver whitener to all the teeth equally)
- The strips cannot fit completely within the cracks and grooves on the surface of some teeth. These areas may remain darker than the flat areas giving to the tooth an uneven colour. The same applies to the curves at the sides of the tooth that do not come in contact with the whitening strip. As these teeth surfaces will not whiten, the teeth may seem like they have the gaps between them widened after the teeth whitening process.
- Due to the lower concentration of hydrogen peroxide, the expected results are much weaker than in office tooth whitening. Teeth whitening strips may take longer to give the desired results depending on the strength of peroxide that they contain.
How safe are teeth whitening strips? - possible side effects and risks
he side effects that could be expected in some cases after using whitening strips are essentially the same as the side effects one is likely to encounter when using any other form of peroxide-based teeth whitening products. The most common side effects that could be noticed are tooth sensitivity and gum irritation. For more information visit this page about side effects of teeth whitening
Similar products :
Take home (professional) whitening strips. Take home whitening strips are an improved type of bleaching strips, available exclusively through dental offices, which contain 14% hydrogen peroxide. These strips can be applied twice daily, for 30 minutes, for 14 days. The main advantage of take home whitening strips is that they provide much more effective whitening. Their disadvantage is that they can only be bought from the dentist and are not available in drugstores.
Paint-on teeth whitening gels is another category of over the counter teeth whitening products. Their action is also based on bleaching teeth with the use of peroxide just like strips. The main difference is the method to apply the bleaching agent on the surface of the teeth. The whitener (peroxide-based gel) is applied directly onto the surface of the teeth using a small brush.
The advantage over strips is that the brush can fit into the spaces between or in grooves on teeth that might be unreachable by a strip. The only drawback is that the gel is not ‘protected’ as with strips, so saliva may wash it out before reaching the 30’ time required for each treatment.
If you want to improve your smile’s appearance you should first visit a cosmetic dentist for consultation. Cosmetic dentists have the expertise to analyze your cosmetic needs, and propose a complete plan of cosmetic dental procedures that will best fit your expectations and finances.