How to use Opalescence for customized take-home whitening
An evaluation of Opalescence, a whitening system from Ultradent Products.
Although tooth whitening is establishing itself as a popular dental treatment, several factors must be considered when selecting the ideal whitening solution. The factors include patient lifestyle, tooth discoloration, compliance ability and tooth sensitivity.
With the ever-increasing patient demands for whitening options (increased comfort, convenience, effectiveness, etc.), dental manufacturers have created an array of whitening systems to meet these requests. As a result, dentists must determine the appropriate whitening solution that also matches the patient’s lifestyle and desired results, in combination with their clinical situation and overall oral health. With many factors to consider, selecting a whitening treatment can be challenging and overwhelming.
Introduced in the 1800s, in-office whitening was the primary choice for dentist-prescribed tooth whitening.1 However, the development of home-applied tray bleaching in the 1980s changed the field of tooth whitening dramatically.1 Unlike in-office treatments that require dental professionals to perform the procedure, at-home whitening is dentist dispensed and individually applied, significantly reducing the cost. With at-home whitening, patients are now able to whiten their teeth, following their dentist’s instructions, at their own convenience.
Today, most dentists still offer these two types of whitening treatments, although with advancements in research the whitening materials have significantly evolved. In-office whitening uses a powerful bleaching agent (e.g. hydrogen peroxide, carbamide peroxide, sodium percarbonate peroxide) to effectively whiten teeth in a single office visit. While using the same potent bleaching material, at-home whitening contains a lower concentration of the active ingredient to whiten teeth.2 When supervised by a dentist, at-home or in-office peroxide bleaching has been shown to be safe and effective.3
Another challenge in determining the appropriate whitening treatment plan is choosing the ideal whitening gel. Carbamide peroxide is the most common active ingredient in whitening materials, dissociating into hydrogen peroxide and urea.4 It is ideal for at-home whitening because of its slow breakdown during oxidation. Unlike hydrogen peroxide—which releases its whitening power almost instantly—carbamide peroxide releases about 50 percent of its whitening power in the first two hours and can remain active for up to eight hours.5
Therefore, the duration of exposure time and bleaching agent concentration directly affect the diffusion of hydrogen peroxide through the dentine and the efficacy of the whitening treatment.6,7 Thus, dental supervision is essential to ensure proper concentration and application time to avoid complications and side effects from whitening (gingival irritation, tooth sensitivity, minimal whitening results, etc.).
Continue to page two to learn about why professional supervision is key...