Many people use the terms ‘teeth whitening’ and ‘teeth bleaching’ interchangeably but there is a subtle difference between the two. The term ‘teeth bleaching’ is used when the teeth are going to be whitened beyond their natural shade of white.
Teeth whitening is a process that just brings the color of the teeth down a few shades to match or get as close as possible to the natural white of the teeth. Most teeth whitening kits, as well as dental tooth whitening procedures, generally involve the bleaching of the teeth.
There are two types of liquids that are used in teeth bleaching: hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. The bleaching agent that dentists prefer is hydrogen peroxide because it’s much, much stronger and works much more quickly.
The tooth whitening kits that you can buy in stores however, use carbamide peroxide, which is slower and not as effective. One of the reasons for this is that carbamide peroxide turns into hydrogen peroxide as it breaks down, which means that this process needs to happen first. Starting with hydrogen peroxide is about three times more effective than starting with carbamide peroxide.