In recent years, teeth whitening has been gaining popularity as a cosmetic dental service, but it’s also been diversifying in the ways it can be administered. Although nearly every teeth whitening method can be effective to some extent, there are certainly some treatments that yield better results than others. Furthermore, existing or potential dental issues, such as tooth decay and gum sensitivity, can be affected in different ways depending on the kind of whitening agent used.

For these and other reasons, it’s important to know and understand the various options for teeth whitening before you undergo any procedures or try a certain product. In this article from Federal Hill Smiles, we share a bit of our professional dental expertise as we walk you through the options for this teeth-enhancing treatment. We want to make sure you choose the kind that’s right for you and for your dental needs, so if you have any questions or would like to learn more about the teeth whitening procedures we offer at our Baltimore office, please contact us today! 

Most Common Types of Teeth Whitening

As with almost all dental services, there are a number of options available for teeth whitening. These most commonly include whitening strips, charcoal, clinical-grade or professional whitening gel, hydrogen peroxide rinse, and even bleach! We’ll look at the features and benefits of the various types in the two following sections, broken down by at-home versus in-office treatments.

At-Home Teeth Whitening Tactics

Whitening Strips

Who It’s For: 

Whitening strips can be a fast and effective option for those on-the-go, but the ingredients can vary drastically from one product to another. They can also be pretty pricey in the long run, since the average box of store-bought or over-the-counter teeth whitening strips costs about $30 and only provides a week or two of the product.

How It Works: 

Regardless of brand, almost every kit of teeth whitening strips is activated by one of two compounds: hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. In addition, teeth whitening strips often contain a small amount of bleach. Federal regulations require that this concentration doesn’t exceed 10%, but production processes can vary from batch to batch, so there’s no definitive way of knowing if a store-bought whitening kit actually has the same levels as those listed on its labels.

The chemicals used in at-home teeth whitening stripswork by lightening the hue of dentin (the hard, calcium-based coating on your teeth) as they saturate the porous exterior enamel. Much like a laundry stain remover, hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide, in tandem with bleach, have an abrasive and appearance-altering effect — great for breaking down tough buildup of discoloration, but liable to leave an unsightly mark if applied with too strong of a chemical intensity or left on for too long. 

Should You Try It? 

For at-home maintenance, teeth whitening strips can be an effective option. However, it’s best practice to receive regular professional whitening services and supplement these with the occasional strip application. Prolonged use of this product can severely weaken the structural integrity of your teeth, especially if it has a higher concentration of bleach, leading to chips and other issues that could be avoided by decreasing the frequency of use and relying more upon a qualified, professional whitening procedure.

Activated Charcoal

Who It’s For: 

Activated charcoal is a popular teeth whitening remedy for those who prefer natural or mineral-based health products. Most people can see results from this method, but it’s important to have a good understanding of the manner in which activated charcoal works — and especially critical to understand that it’s not the same as the kind you use for barbecuing!

How It Works:

By itself, charcoal is a carbon-based compound, but activated charcoal contains a number of other ingredients including coconut shells, charred wood, and even olive pits. Unlike the pure form of charcoal, this teeth whitening remedy does not have carcinogenic properties or fuel-like combustion properties, so it’s safe to use. The combination of ingredients in activated charcoal are ground into a fine powder that may come in granular form or in a capsule. Activated charcoal works as a teeth whitener by binding to toxins and pigmented areas of the dentin, then “lifting” the color from the tooth’s surface.

Should You Try It?

There’s little harm in using activated charcoal as a teeth whitening agent so long as you properly follow directions, but compared to professional whitening services or over-the-counter whitening strips, the effects will take longer to manifest and may not be as impactful when all is said and done. If you’re adamant about using an organic teeth whitener, though, this may be your best option.  

In-Office Teeth Whitening Services

Professional Whitening Services

Who It’s For: 

Professional whitening services are an excellent option for anyone who receives regular checkups at their local dentist. If you’re not already getting cleanings and examinations on your teeth, be sure to contact Federal Hill Smiles immediately!

How It Works: 

Many dentistries, including Federal Hill Smiles, offer services in professional teeth whitening. Their products include the same basic ingredients as those in DIY whitening kits, but differ in the concentrations and strengths of chemicals they contain. Professional-grade teeth whiteners have a precise amount of hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide that’s stronger than those available for over-the-counter purchase. They should only be applied by a dental professional with specialized training and experience, but this doesn’t mean they are unsafe or ineffective — quite the contrary, in fact! 

When you go to Federal Hill Smiles to receive a professional teeth whitening service, your procedure will begin with a thorough cleaning, followed by the application of a gum and enamel-protecting agent. After this, a device called a retractor is placed on your face to gently pull back your lips and cheeks, allowing a larger surface area of your teeth to be whitened. The professional grade whitening gel is then applied and left to sit for about an hour. Once those 60 minutes are up, the gel is cleaned off, and the beautiful and beneficial results will be immediately apparent! 

Should You Try It?

If you care about your oral health and the long-term cosmetic appeal of your smile, there’s really no better option than a professional whitening service. Just be sure to use a trusted dental provider like us rather than going to an unqualified or uncertified business. You’ve probably seen kiosks or stores in shopping malls that offer teeth whitening services, but there’s no guarantee that these providers will use regulated products or even properly train their staff. If you want the best quality and best value from a teeth whitening procedure, we strongly recommend that you go to a licensed dentistry like ours.

Get Professional Teeth Whitening Service In Baltimore Today

If you’re ready to experience optimal benefits from a teeth whitening procedure, please contact Federal Hill Smiles in Baltimore today. We can provide either in-office services or send you home with a professional-grade whitening kit that’s more effective than anything you can find over-the-counter. Please note that a white smile is not necessarily a healthy smile, so it’s still important to practice regular oral hygiene and visit your primary dentist for semi-annual checkups and cleanings. Call us now and receive $100 off your first visit!