Teeth whitening or commonly referred as bleaching has become the new trend for obtaining that 'bright' smile. The most widely used system is the at-home method prescribed by your dentist. This system utilizes a plastic tray that has been fabricated to custom fit your teeth. A gel is placed in the tray and worn for several hours as the effects of the whitening process takes place. This system is safe and used at your own pace.
In order to fabricate the plastic tray, a dental mold is taken of your existing teeth. This tray is custom designed to fit around your teeth and gums. The emphasize of adequate and proper fit of the tray is placed in order to keep you from injury. The plastic tray is trimmed around the contour of your gums so that excess gel will not spill onto your gums causing damage. Instructions of proper usage of the tray and bleaching gel will be given by your dentist. Any excess gel on your gums should be wiped off in order not to cause necrosis of the gums or blackening of your gums.
Other systems for teeth whitening exist such as the "one hour bleaching" and over-the-counter systems. We do not promote the usage of any particular system. We recommend whatever system used that you carefully read and understand the products. The FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) does not recognize whiteners as a drug and therefore does not regulate them. The ADA (American Dental Association) has yet placed their seal of approval on any over-the-counter bleaching products. It is not required to have the ADA seal of approval on dental products. Manufactures will present their research and clinical trials for approval by the ADA. If the criteria for their guidelines have been met for a certain product, the ADA will give the manufacturer their seal of approval. As far as whiteners, the ADA has only approved the 10% carbamide peroxide used at home and prescribed by your dentist. Over-the-counter products typically contain hydrogen peroxide. Your dentist may prescribe a stronger dosage of carbamide peroxide which may be specific for your needs.