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What are teeth whiteners?

Teeth whiteners are products that help to remove stains from your teeth. Teeth whitening can be performed either in-office by your dentist or with over-the-counter products. Before beginning any tooth whitening treatment, you should speak with your dentist to lessen your risks of interaction or complication.
Teeth whiteners are any products that give your teeth a brighter, whiter appearance. Whitening products that you can apply yourself can be purchased over the counter or from your dentist. You can also have your dentist apply whitening agents in his or her office. Teeth whiteners contain a form of bleach, which changes a tooth's color. Teeth whiteners applied by dentists contain a stronger concentration of the bleaching agent.

Whitening toothpastes can help remove surface stains, but do not change the color of teeth.
Teeth whiteners are at home products or dental procedures that make discolored teeth whiter. Some examples of teeth whitening options are:
  • In-office bleaching. This procedure is called chairside bleaching and usually requires only one office visit. The dentist will apply either a protective gel to your gums or a rubber shield to protect the oral soft tissues. A bleaching agent is then applied to the teeth, and a special light may be used. Lasers have been used during tooth whitening procedures to enhance the action of the whitening agent.
  • At-home bleaching. Peroxide-containing whiteners actually bleach the tooth enamel. They typically come in a gel and are placed in a mouthguard. Usage regimens vary. There are potential side effects, such as increased sensitivity or gum irritation. Speak with your dentist if you have any concerns.
  • Whitening toothpastes. All toothpastes help remove surface stain through the action of mild abrasives. "Whitening" toothpastes in the ADA Seal of Acceptance program have special chemical or polishing agents that provide additional stain removal effectiveness. Unlike bleaches, these ADA Accepted products do not change the color of teeth because they can only remove stains on the surface.
You should discuss your tooth whitening options with your dentist. He or she can tell you whether whitening procedures would be effective for you. When selecting a whitener or any dental product, be sure to look for the ADA Seal of Acceptance, which is your assurance that they have met ADA standards of safety and effectiveness.
Teeth whiteners are used to lighten the color of the teeth. Whiteners work from the inside of the tooth lightening the pigment of the teeth. Many whiteners involve the use of a tray and a whitening gel. The whitening gel in placed into the tray, and the tray is worn over the teeth. Teeth whiteners can be used to treat discolored teeth. See your dentist if you are interested in whitening.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.