I was talking to my dentist about teeth whitening. I wanted to know what was in it. When he said it was a peroxide gel, it occurred to me I could probably do the same thing at home rinsing with the peroxide I have. Would that not whiten my teeth? It seems like a much less expensive way to get the white smile I want.
The Teeth Whitening Gel Needs to Soak Into the Teeth
In order for the peroxide to work, you would need the peroxide to stay on your teeth for a minimum of 15-20 minutes to do any good at all. It is important that the peroxide soaks into your teeth. I imagine rinsing with peroxide for even two minutes would seem like forever. I can’t imagine 15.
When your dentist provides you with teeth whitening gel, he also provides a custom-fitted tray. This allows the gel to soak into your teeth without you having to put forth any effort in keeping it there. Depending on how much you can tolerate and how quickly you want to whiten, you’d wear the trays anywhere from 20 minutes to overnight. The longer you can wear them, the faster your teeth will whiten.
The Teeth Whitening Gel Needs a Strong Concentration
In addition to time, there is the strength of the whitening gel to think about. Peroxide you get at the store is a 3% concentration. Crest Whitestrips, which are an over the counter whitening product that can cover about six teeth, has a 6% concentration and produces very mild results. The gel dentists provide is anywhere between 15% – 38% concentration. That is anywhere from 5 to 10 times stronger than what you could do on your own.
All that being said, if you are persistent enough and don’t mind being in it for the long haul, you could get some mild whitening results from rinsing with peroxide. Be careful, though, when you rinse, it is not just your teeth being affected by the peroxide. The tissue from your gums, tongue, and inside of your cheeks is being affected by the peroxide as well. This could lead to tissue damage.
This is another benefit of having the teeth whitening trays. They fit snug on your teeth in order to keep the gel away from the rest of your mouth.
If it is cost you are worried about, talk to your dentist about payment plans. If the cost isn’t really a problem and you are just always looking for ways to be frugal (a great quality by the way), then just go ahead and do it safely with your dentist. There is also a way to get all your teeth whitened in just one appointment using Zoom Whitening, though this does cost a little more than the take-home trays.
This blog is brought to you by Hilton Head Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Bonnie Rothwell.