There are two different products which are generally used in various concentrations to oxidize stains and whiten teeth. In layman’s terms, it is a chemical process from the bleaching product that removes stains from your teeth. The standard active ingredient in teeth bleaches are either hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. These are measured in their strength, so be careful what percent of your teeth whitener is one of these two chemicals. Generally speaking, if you are using a carbamide peroxide solution, most use about a 6% solution with the maximum being 10%; if you decide to use a hydrogen peroxide solution, try to keep it under 20%, as most commercial brands keep it a little more than 10%.
The risks from teeth bleaching are threefold:
- Chemical burns from too high of a concentration of the product. Generally, you should be careful and read the label. Most whiteners that are hydrogen peroxide based are 10%, while carbamide peroxide whiteners are usually 6%. I cannot stress enough how important it is to read the packaging when you come to decide on buying a teeth bleaching product or system.
- Over-bleaching occurs when you leave the product on too long and you end up with blindingly white teeth. This is often known as the Hollywood Syndrome or Celebrity White Syndrome. Your teeth end up being over-white, and it looks very unnatural.
- If the results are too staggering for too short a period of time, then the results could involve a “rebound”, where the whitening is lost very quickly. The rule of thumb is that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. There are some teeth whitening products out there that may guarantee 8-9 shades whiter in one hour. Sure, this may happen, but you will lose 6-7 shades a few hours later.
So take care when choosing the right teeth bleaching product. If you need assistance in selecting a product, please ask a dentist or other oral hygiene professional.