Thursday, April 16, 2015

Whitening strips: Pros and cons

June 29, 2013 by  
Filed under Articles

The teeth whitening strips are increasingly popular. Sales steadily went up in recent years. If the trend continues their popularity will soon surpass that of whitening toothpastes. The reason for this success is simple: the whitening strips are easy to use, available in stores everywhere, and relatively inexpensive. They are an interesting choice before considering teeth whitening at the dentist.

This is a relatively new product that has been on the market a few years at most. The idea behind the whitening strips is to provide the customer with a mean less messy than the whitening gel, at a lower cost but equally effective. The product is designed to outperform other teeth whitening products one can use at home; namely whitening toothpaste and mouthwash, whitening kits and gels with gutters.

The whitening strips are made of thin strips of plastic coated with a bleaching agent that stick to the teeth. They are sold in pairs, for the upper and lower parts of the jaw. They are designed to cover the areas visible when smiling, while the other whitening products, such as toothpaste or mouthwash affect all the teeth. The whitening strips are very comfortable to use. We don’t feel them so we can wear them while watching TV, working, housekeeping or even overnight. The strips are favored over the use of splints with whitening gel.  As they are almost forgotten they do not generate the nauseous effect created by the use of gutters, which are bulkier in the mouth.

As in most other teeth whitening products, the active agent of whitening strips is carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide. The proportion of the product varies from 6% to 20% depending on the brand. Carbamide peroxide is softer, it is usually the active ingredient used in whitening products for home use.  Whitening strips show sometimes remarkable results after about 2 weeks of daily use. Whitening strips have has mild side effects, usually over sensitivity to cold and/or hot, or a slight irritation of the gums.  The problems can be solved by using toothpaste for sensitive teeth. These side effects will be minimized by strictly following the manufacturer’s recommendation.

Whitening strips also have downsides however.  The adhesive for retaining the strips cannot stick to perfectly cover 100% of the surface of the tooth.  The uncovered areas will not whiten at the same rate as the rest of the tooth, creating uneven bleaching. The strip can also move because of the saliva, which may eventually peel off parts of the strip. If you work in public, a strip taking off can be quite ugly! The strips can also fall off during the night, forcing you to start the treatment all over again.  Teeth whitening strips can bring good results but will never match whitening treatment performed by a dental professional.

Nevertheless, the companies specialized in teeth whitening at home constantly improve their products.   We must however be realistic when deciding to use teeth whitening products, either at home or at the dentist.  The general state of our teeth, the nature of the stains, the natural color of our teeth; all are factors that can influence the results. Unlike whitening gels using splints specially molded for our teeth, whitening strips are for general use. A teeth whitening kit to use at home is practical, but not necessarily designed to meet all the specific individual needs.

The whitening strips bring interesting results, but for pristine teeth you may be dreaming about, the dentist is irreplaceable!


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