Teeth whitening or bleaching products brighten teeth that have been stained or darkened by food, tobacco use, age or injury. There are a variety of in-office and take-home teeth whitening products to reduce or eliminate such stains.
In-office teeth whitening, also called chairside bleaching, takes place during a series of appointments at a dentist's office. Advantages of in-office teeth whitening over take-home whitening include:
Take-home bleaching solutions can help improve the color and overall brightness of teeth. These kits are simpler and less expensive than, and can be just as effective as, in-office treatments. Dentists provide patients with customized impression trays, whitening powder and whitening gel, the use of which improves the appearance of teeth over just a few days.
Various over-the-counter products, such as whitening toothpastes and bleaching strips, are advertised as being effective teeth-whiteners. However, although based on the same science as professional bleaching, the concentration of effective ingredients tends to be much lower, lengthening treatment time and often not providing the level of whitening desired.
Whitening procedures are effective but not permanent. Depending on the procedure used, whitening may fade over time. Patients are advised to avoid food and drinks that may stain or darken teeth.
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development