Many think that whitening their teeth at home is easier and just as effective as getting it done in a dentist’s office. Truthfully, neither is true. The procedure in the dentist’s office is very easy, does not take a long time, and is painless. And whichever type of teeth whitening kit you buy, it’s not going to be as effective as getting the procedure done by a professional dentist; it really is as simple as that.
But, when it comes to the different types of tooth whitening kits that are available, there are four main types to choose from. These are: teeth whitening trays, teeth whitening strips, teeth whitening gels, and teeth whitening toothpastes.
Teeth Whitening Tray Kits:
These kits come with a tray and a tube of whitening gel. The gel is squeezed into the tray and then the tray is placed into the mouth, with the user biting into the tray to ensure that the whitening gel is covering all of their teeth. These trays can stay on the teeth anywhere from ten minutes to half an hour.
These are thought to be by many the most effective types of over-the-counter teeth whitening kits because the gel can get into nook and cranny of the teeth, and because it will cover all of the teeth, and not just the front ones.
However, these trays come in one-size-fits-all and many users find it uncomfortable; those with a sensitive gag reflex will find these trays especially difficult to use. It’s also nearly impossible to do anything else while you are whitening your teeth.
The gel from the tray has also been reported to push up too far and remain on the gums for a long time, which can cause irritation and a burning sensation on the gums.
These teeth whitening tray kits are available in the price range of anywhere from $20 – $100, depending on the brand you choose and how many trays and whitening tubes you receive in the kit.
Teeth Whitening Strip Kits:
Teeth whitening strip kits have become very popular today, mostly because many of them are advertised as still being able to do things while you’re wearing the strips, unlike that bulky tray. But keep in mind that you will still have something covering your teeth, which could make talking awkward and eating or drinking impossible.
These strips come pre-moistened with a whitening gel and adhesive coating on one side. You apply the strips to the top and bottom front teeth and leave the strip on for twenty to thirty minutes to allow the gel to work. The strips not only ‘allow you to do other things’ but they are also much more flexible and thinner than other types of whitening systems, making them much more comfortable for many users. However, these too have their pitfalls.
The biggest drawback to teeth whitening strip kits is that they are only meant to be worn on the front teeth, meaning that your back teeth won’t get any whitening benefit, and your teeth may be noticeably different colors. Also, the strips will only work on the areas which they touch. This means that small cracks within the teeth and the sides in between the teeth will also not get whitened, even if they’re in the front where the strips are applied.
These teeth whitening kits are usually available for around $50.
Teeth Whitening Gels:
Teeth whitening gels come in a small tube that contains a gel with peroxide in it. The gel should be applied onto teeth, allowed to dry and then rinsed off. The biggest advantage the gel has over other some other types of whitening kits is that they can reach all areas of the mouth. However, this is still dependent on the user making sure that they have covered all areas of the teeth.
The biggest problem that comes with these gels is that they tend to be very ineffective. This is because in order for the gel to work properly, it needs to dry completely. Often, moisture and saliva in the mouth make this impossible.
It’s not surprising, with no extra tools or accessories, and with the ineffectiveness of the product, that these gels are some of the cheapest teeth whitening kits you could buy and are available for around $5 – $15 a tube.
Teeth Whitening Toothpastes:
These days, just about every brand of toothpaste has one that they specify as having ‘whitening’ powers. If you’re looking for a toothpaste to significantly whiten your teeth, it’s just not going to happen.
These toothpastes don’t even contain any peroxide or bleach so they rely strictly on their cleaning agents to remove stains and whiten teeth in that manner. There are teeth whitening toothpastes available from dentists that do contain bleach or peroxide, as well as other more abrasive ingredients that will work much better than any whitening toothpaste you’ll find on the shelf.