Imagine meeting up with friends or family members for the holidays or a big event. How amazing would it be to have one of them stop you and say “Your teeth look amazing! Where did you get them whitened?”
It’s on you now to tell them either that you spent thousands of dollars professionally whitening them - or let them in on your little secret - that you’ve been whitening them at home with a teeth whitening kit.
Teeth whitening kits have come a long way and do work. First generation at-home teeth whitening kits were often bulky, messy, and painful. Trays that you filled with whitening gel often didn’t fit onto teeth properly, causing pain.
It was a messy process, as too much gel would be used. Todays’ at-home teeth whitening kits have come a long way. Easy to use teeth whitening kits have quickly become the go-to for creating amazing white smiles that will have your friends and family thinking you’ve had professional teeth whitening done.
Causes for Teeth Discolouration
Age, diet, and poor dental hygiene are reasons why our teeth discolour. Teeth staining can be broken down into two main categories.
Extrinsic discolouration - the outside layer, or enamel, of your teeth are discoloured due to staining from coffee, tea, smoking, dyed foods, red wines, etc. Poor dental hygiene also plays a huge role here, as brushing and flossing are still daily dental hygiene musts. Extrinsic discoloration is what most at-home teeth whitening kits are designed to remedy.
Intrinsic discolouration - stains that come from within the tooth itself. This is caused by medications, infections, childhood teeth trauma, and age. This type of teeth staining is not cosmetic and usually needs professional dental attention for stain removal or whitening.
Different Types of Teeth Whitening Kits
Over-the-counter teeth whitening kits now come in all forms and sizes. They can be as complex as consisting of pre-moldable trays that have LED lights in them. Some kits come with tubes and syringes that, to be honest, seem a tad intimidating. Whitening gels and teeth whitening toothpastes are examples of the most basic do-it-yourself teeth whitening kits that can generate amazing results.
Teeth whitening strips are the compromise in technology and ease-of-use that consumers and dental professionals seem to agree on. They are user-friendly and effective.
How Teeth Whitening Kits Work
The basics of any over-the-counter, DIY, teeth whitening kit is applying an active bleaching chemical directly to the enamel of the teeth. This can be done in several ways.
Brushing with whitening toothpaste, applying whitening gel directly on stains, inserting trays filled with whitening gel, or applying teeth whitening strips directly onto the teeth are all ways in which this is done.
Most over-the-counter teeth whitening products include the active bleaching ingredient of hydrogen peroxide. This is safe as long as product instructions are followed. Hydrogen peroxide levels, or strengths, vary in each product and one should be cautioned of over-exposing teeth.
The best results in removing extrinsic stains with a teeth whitening kit are when we follow basic dental hygiene practises at the same time as well. This means brushing and flossing multiple times daily, avoiding food and drinks that can stain the enamel on our teeth, and reducing any possible tobacco use.
Do Teeth Whitening Kits Work?
Yes. And no. This is not meant to be misleading. As stated above, do-it-yourself teeth whitening kits are meant to whiten teeth that are stained mostly extrinsically. Great results can be achieved by avoiding certain foods and drinks, brushing your teeth daily, while using a teeth whitening kit - like teeth whitening strips.
The “No” comes into play if people are looking at using at-home teeth whitening kits to whiten teeth stained from intrinsic discolouration. Frustration can set in if results are expected when trying to remove these types of stains with these kits. Overuse of these products will sometimes cause pain, heightened teeth sensitivity, and gum irritation. Always read and follow instructions before using teeth whitening kits and products. Understand where your teeth stains are coming from and why they are there.
Teeth whitening kits are great at removing cosmetic and extrinsic teeth stains. They will save you thousands of dollars, hours of your precious time, and the hassle of visiting a dental professional. They will wow your friends and family! They do work, and results can be quick and long lasting.