Girl brushing her teeth

Whitening systems: Options for our patients

Date: December 01, 2021

Author: Louise Sinclair

Tooth whitening is more in-demand than ever in the US, with the nation accounting for 32%  of the world’s multi-billion dollar teeth whitening market. One survey found that tooth color was the most common reason for smile dissatisfaction, with 88.2% of dissatisfied participants reporting the desire to undergo whitening treatment. Given this popularity, you’ll no doubt get frequent requests for teeth whitening from your patients. When you do, what can you offer them?

What are the options for tooth whitening?

There are many over-the-counter whitening products on the market today, from toothpastes and gels that remove surface stains, to strips and trays. In-office whitening treatments offer rapid results and take-home whitening kits offer supervised treatment and excellent results when used appropriately. In some cases, in-office and subsequent take-home whitening are offered, in effect a combination treatment.

The most common ingredients for tooth whitening are a) hydrogen peroxide and b) carbamide peroxide that releases hydrogen peroxide. The hydrogen peroxide works by releasing free radicals that penetrate the tooth’s surface to reach the chromophores (stain molecules) present within the tooth. Once the hydrogen peroxide's free radicals reach the chromophores, they bind to these and break their double bonds which results in smaller, lighter-colored molecules.

In-office treatments typically use a much higher concentration of hydrogen peroxide than take-home treatments. This provides for more rapid whitening. For the patient who wants to leave the office with a significantly brighter smile, this is an ideal solution.

Take-home whitening kits are typically used daily over a longer period using a lower concentration of hydrogen peroxide (or carbamide peroxide), providing a more gradual whitening effect. However, research shows that this does not affect the end result, with take-home whitening kits found to be just as effective as in-office systems when properly used. For the patient who wants the convenience of whitening in the comfort of their own home, or simply a more cost-effective way to brighten their smile, take-home kits are an attractive alternative.

The best of both worlds

Colgate Optic White Professional comprises a take-home whitening kit that is designed for fast, dramatic results while offering the convenience and affordability of take-home kits. Typical home whitening kits take up to four to six weeks to achieve their full results. In comparison, Colgate Optic White Professional take-home whitening shows dramatic results in five days. The kit comprises a pen that contains a serum with 6% hydrogen peroxide. The mess-free pen is used to precisely apply the serum which then rapidly dries leaving a thin hydrogen-peroxide-rich thin film on the tooth surface. A short-wavelength LED light device is then placed over the teeth for 10 minutes, and delivers high levels of energy for faster whitening. After 10 minutes, the device is removed and the film continues to work while the patient sleeps. In the morning, the thin film is easily removed during toothbrushing. This treatment is repeated for a further 4 days.

Considering sensitivity and irritation

Sensitivity is the most common side effect of tooth whitening. Generally, the risk of sensitivity increases with the concentration of peroxide agents. In one study, researchers noted that sensitivity was reported in 100% of cases after the use of a 35% hydrogen peroxide in-office whitening treatment. A less common side effect is gingival irritation, which can occur due to trays impinging on the gingivae or leakage of hydrogen peroxide gel at the gingival margins. The Optic White Professional System uses a gentler — but equally effective — concentration of 6% hydrogen peroxide that is applied directly to the teeth with a precision, mess-free pen and no trays are needed. As such, this whitening system is designed for no sensitivity and also no gingival irritation.

Ultimately, the best choice of whitening system for your patient will come down to their individual priorities. An option like the Colgate Optic White Professional helps you meet them all, with whitening that’s fast, dramatic, affordable, safe, convenient and comfortable.