Different types of teeth Whitening Treatments

types of teeth Whitening Treatments

Teeth whitening treatments are cosmetic procedures to remove the stains or discolorations from the teeth to restore their natural color. Teeth whitening treatments are simple and the most cost-effective way to brighten and whiten the teeth. There are several different types of teeth whitening treatments you can get. Some are home-based; others are proffessional whitening treatments.

Let’s get started;

When To Use Teeth Whitening Treatments 

Tooth whitening treatments respond well to yellow, light brown, and orange extrinsic stains. Extrinsic stains are superficial discoloration on the tooth enamel. They can result from the following habits:

  • Nicotine in cigarettes – respond slowly and show less promising results to whitening treatments than non-smokers.
  • Frequent consumption of chromogenic foods and beverages such as coffee, red wine and copper and iron-rich foods.
  • Occuaptional or prolong medicinal exposure to metals such as iron, copper, stannous fluoride.
  • Prolong use of Chlorhexidine mouthwash
  • Aging

Stains not responding well to Teeth Whitening Treatments

The brown, orange, and chalky white stains don’t respond well to bleaching treatments and require other aesthetic treatments. The stains could be due to

  • Tetracycline stains due to tetracycline or minocycline, an antibiotic, ingestion during pregnancy or early childhood. 
  • Increased fluoride exposure during tooth development
  • blood disorders or developmental abnormalities.

These stubborn stains lie deeper in the tooth enamel and are known as intrinsic stains, The internal stains incorporate in the enamel when the tooth is developing and often involve the entire enamel thickness. They require complex procedure such as crown, veneer, microabrasion, or microabrasion to hide the discoloration.

Teeth whitening treatment may not be best the option for you if you suffer from cavities, periodontal disease, or tooth sensitivity. 

Read more: 10 Signs of healthy gums

Be Cautious if you have the following conditions


There is not enough evidence to support that hydrogen peroxide can harm the developing fetus or breast-feeding child. Still, it’s wise to avoid whitening treatments during pregnancy and in lactating women to prevent gum irritation due to exaggerated hormonal responses.

Sensitivity in teeth

Concentrated bleaching gels, especially in-office bleaching, can lead to tooth sensitivity, so if you already have tooth sensitivity, you are likely to experience increased sensitivity in your teeth after the treatment. However, dentists use additional measures to prevent it. 

How Do Whitening Agents Work?

The teeth whitening treatments use varying concentrations of oxidizing gels such as hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide to remove the stains. The bleaching agent dissociates into free radicals on exposure to teeth and disintegrates the double bonds between the organic stains. 

Read more: Can you regrow enamel?

What are the different types of teeth Whitening Treatments?

Here is a list of commonly used different types of teeth whitening treatments: 

  • Whitening toothpaste
  • Whitening mouthwash
  • In-office bleaching or whitening 
  • At-home bleaching 
  • Non-vital teeth bleaching or internal bleaching 
  • Whitening strips
  • Over-the-counter teeth whitening kits

Whitening Toothpaste

Toothpaste contains physical or chemical agents to remove extrinsic stains from the teeth. There is a bunch of  whitening toothpaste that contains mild abrasives, such as hydrated silica, alumina, or dicalcium phosphate (Oral B 3D White PerfectionTM – Procter & Gamble, Sorriso Xtreme White 4D – Colgate). These substances degrade the proteins in the pellicle that form stains and prevent new stains formation on the teeth. 

In the past few years, activated charcoal-infused toothpastes (Curaprox Black & White, Colgate luminous white toothpaste activated charcoal) have taken the world by storm. The greater surface area of activated charcoal adsorbs pigments and stains and lightens the teeth. 

Another group of toothpaste contains oxides and enzymes that chemically modify pigments and make them less visible in the light. Optical modifying toothpaste contains blue covarine (Close up white attraction diamond, Unilever) that forms a semi-transparent bluish film on the teeth and makes the teeth appear whiter when they fall on the teeth. Toothpaste containing peroxides oxidizes the stain molecules and prevents the redeposition of the stain. 

Moreover, toothpaste incorporating sodium hexametaphosphate (Crest Dual Action Whitening) helps to reduce the accumulation of extrinsic stains.

Whitening toothpaste takes four to six weeks to see noticeable changes in the teeth. Whitening toothpaste isn’t as effective as dentist-supervised whitening treatments. It is recommended to use whitening toothpaste to maintain a brighter smile after the completion of in-office bleaching.

Read more: How to stop throbbing wisdom tooth pain?

Whitening mouthwash

Whitening mouthwash contain 1.5-2% hydrogen peroxide (Colgate Peroxyl Oral Hygiene Mouth Rinse) and/or sodium hexametaphosphate (Oral-B 3D White Luxe Diamond). They prevent tooth discoloration, however, prolong use may lead to tooth sensitivity and gum irriation.

Read more: Is dry mouth a symptom of COVID-19?

Professional whitening

Professional or in-office whitening is the most effective method of whitening teeth and is carried out in a dental office using a high concentration of hydrogen peroxide under the dentist’s supervision. The gel is loaded in a customized tray and placed in the mouth for an hour. The gel may need activation through heat, laser, or light. At the end of the treatment, the tray is removed, and teeth are rinsed with water. 

A 30-35% hydrogen peroxide is used for teeth whitening and may result in tooth sensitivity. If you have extrinsic stains but you don’t have teeth sensitivity, this procedure is for you. 

Read more: Chairside whitening

Non-vital bleaching or internal bleaching

Non-vital bleaching, internal bleaching or walking bleaching is done on a single or two teeth and involves placement of the bleaching inside the tooth. It is carried out on discolored root canal-treated tooth, tooth with a history of trauma and intracanal hemorrhage. The discolored front tooth affects the smile and needs internal bleaching to whiten and brighten it. 

For non-vital bleaching, hydrogen peroxide gel is placed inside the tooth after the root canal treatment, the tooth opening is closed with a temporary filling and the patient is sent home. The patient will be called next week, the gel is changed and the process is repeated untill the desired results are obtained. It may be coupled with outside bleaching to enhance the results. 

Root canal treatment seals the canals if done correctly. However, faulty root canal filling allows a bleaching agent to penetrate the canal, leading to internal cervical root resorption. Internal root resorption is the dissolution or resorption of the root from the inside. Internal root resorption takes 10-15 years to appear and appears as a pink spot next to the gums. 

Read more: Bamboo toothbrush benefits

At-Home Bleaching 

At-home bleaching is a cost-effective way to lighten and brighten teeth in the comfort of your home. Home bleaching uses a low concentration of bleaching gel – hydrogen peroxide (10%) or carbide peroxide (10-15%) and, therefore, needs longer to see the desired results. At-home bleaching can be used more frequently than in-office bleaching with lower tooth sensitivity. 

The procedure requires a customized tray for the oxidizing agent placement. The dentist takes the impression and is delivered from the lab in a week. You must place the tray in the mouth for 2-6 weeks for 6-8 hours. It often takes a week or two to reach the optimal results.

Read more: Root canal aftercare – 8 Measures you need to take

Whitening strips

Whitening strips are developed to bleaching gel easier to apply. They consist of uniform distribution of 5.3-6.5% hydrogen peroxide on a flexible plastic sheet (Oral-B 3D White Luxe Advance Seal Whitestrips). You are advised to apply it for 30 minutes twice daily for two weeks to get the noticeable outcome.

At-home Whitening Kits 

There is a wide range of teeth whitening kits available both online and at your local pharmacy.  A kit typically comes with special trays that fit snugly over your teeth. 

Most kits contain trays, a whitening gel, and a portable LED light (for light-activated bleaching gel). 

Follow the instructions on the kit and dispense the gel in each tray.  Now place the tray in your mouth for the time written on the kit and discard the gel afterward. 


Teeth whitening treatments are a cost-effective and least invasive way to brighten and whiten the teeth. Superficial extrinsic stains respond well to bleaching procedures. Therefore, it is essential to consult a dentist to see which whitening treatment is best for you.

The whitening toothpaste, in-office bleaching, non-vital bleaching, at-home bleaching, and over-the-counter whitening kits are some of the whitening procedures used to brighten teeth. 

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