With the increased demand for whiter teeth, the supply of whitening products for home use has grown exponentially in recent years.1 At the same time, dentists offer professional tooth whitening.
Below you will find information about the methods. In our comparison, the aspects of the complexity of the application, the harmfulness and the cost are considered. You can read the statements made in the linked literature. This is followed by a recommendation from the editors and the conclusion.
What systems are there for changing the tooth color?
There are two permissible methods in Germany, Austria and Switzerland for whitening natural teeth:
• Whitening at the dentist with highly concentrated peroxides (15 to 35 percent)
• Lightening at home with low-concentration peroxides (max. 0,1% hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide)
Peroxides are among the oxidizing agents and whiten teeth during the exposure time. Colored deposits from luxury goods (coffee, tea, red wine) can be removed and deposits can be discolored. Discoloration caused by enamel malformations, excessive amounts of fluoride or dental accidents cannot be removed by whitening measures, and dental prostheses, implants and fillings cannot be brightened.
How does teeth whitening work at the dentist?
In the dental treatment for whitening, the teeth are first cleaned and then a gel is applied. This gel contains high-dose hydrogen peroxide (15 to 35 percent) and is removed again after an exposure time of 20 to 60 minutes.
The result is immediately visible and can be recorded using a color card. However, it depends heavily on the type of discoloration, the initial tooth color, and the age of the patient.2
Some dentists use the term “power bleaching” for the service offered. According to Duschner, it works as follows: "The mode of action of peroxide-based whiteners is based on the oxidation of discolored organic components that have formed or deposited in or on the teeth over time".3
How does home whitening work?
The home application for tooth whitening is similar to whitening. A gel containing peroxide is applied to the tooth enamel. It breaks down into water and oxygen and, through oxidation, whitens the tooth. An LED lamp can speed up the process.
According to the law, the hydrogen peroxide concentration in products for household use must not exceed a value of 0,1 percent and is therefore much lower than at the dentist. Due to the longer exposure time, however, similar results can be achieved as at the dentist. The key factors of effectiveness are concentration and time.4 Home whitening is considered lower risk and can be done more often than dentist whitening.
What does whitening cost and what does teeth whitening cost?
Depending on whether you want to whiten your teeth at the dentist or at home, you can expect significant price differences. Whitening in a practice is more expensive than buying a kit for home use.
The dentist can set the price of his whitening treatment himself. Depending on the method and the time required, he estimates between 250 and 750 euros. If you want to whiten individual teeth, you have to reckon with 70 to 150 euros per tooth. The price for teeth cleaning is usually added.
To find the best deal, it pays to inquire about the prices at several dentists and compare them with one another. The health insurance companies rate bleaching as a purely cosmetic service and therefore do not assume any costs.
With at-home applications, you get away cheaper. If you buy a set once (usually consists of a splint, an LED light and the active ingredient-containing gel), you pay between 90 and 160 euros.
From then on, you can use the splint and light again and again; you can reorder the gel if necessary. The cost of whitening depends on the frequency of use and the amount of gel used.
|Whitening at the dentist||Lightening at home|
|60 to 120 euros for preparatory teeth cleaning||90 to 210 euros for a one-time purchase|
|250 to 750 euros per application||40 to 80 euros for a tube of gel (sufficient for about 10 applications)|
Does whitening / whitening break teeth?
A study summary from 2018 examined, among other things, the harmfulness of tooth whitening sets.5 Tooth sensitivity and oral irritation were the most common side effects that often occurred with higher drug concentrations. These side effects were mild and transient. Teeth whitening did not affect quality of life related to oral health.
Another source concludes that hydrogen peroxide has a long history of use in tooth whitening and it seems safe. It even goes so far as to claim that in addition to changing the appearance of discolored teeth, it can also delay the need for more invasive veneers and crowns.6
A third study examines the influence of carbamide peroxide on the melting properties and the susceptibility to further discoloration.7 Based on observation, bleaching the teeth with carbamide peroxide does not increase the susceptibility of the tooth enamel to stains and does not change the topography (texture / roughness) of the tooth enamel.
In today's research there is a consensus that peroxides per se in no way lead to damage to enamel or dentin. Demineralization, etching or the like can be ruled out if whitening systems are used in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions.8
However, the effectiveness of bleaching systems can be changed by additives and carrier materials (gels or pH buffer substances). The manufacturer and user should therefore have an understanding of the reaction mechanisms in order to be able to reliably exclude possible interactions and side effects.9
Although research has as good as ruled out gross damage with both home whitening and dentist whitening, users report side effects. After bleaching at the dentist with significantly higher concentrations of active ingredients than in home sets, the teeth would be temporarily sensitive and the gums would be irritated.
The dosage for home bleaching is usually so low that there is no risk of damage if used properly. If you tend to have particularly sensitive teeth or if you have injuries in the oral cavity, we recommend a prior examination by the dentist.
How long does the result of a tooth whitening last?
There is no general answer to that. Like the fingerprint, teeth whitening in humans is also individual. Depending on predisposition, lifestyle and age, teeth are naturally white, yellowish, grayish or dark.10
It has been observed that whitening at the dentist produces more whitening than home whitening. How long the result lasts depends heavily on the patient's consumption of luxury foods. If he smokes after the treatment or drinks beverages with coloring pigments such as coffee, tea or red wine, it can happen that the teeth discolor again within a few weeks. Good oral hygiene, flossing, and cleaning your teeth regularly can keep your teeth white for longer.11
However, the period until you have to go to the dentist to have your teeth whitened again should not be too short. Because of the increased concentration of active ingredients, dentists recommend a break of at least 2 years in a statement.12
It looks different with the lightening at home. Concentration and exposure time are lower here and the application is generally less risky. In most cases, the whitening result is less pronounced than at the dentist's, but the product can be used as often as desired.
The best tooth whitening set to take home
In order to be able to recommend a good set to you, we researched extensively and compared different offers. In the end, we were won over by the products from OnlySmile, which we briefly introduce below.
OnlySmile is one of the medium-priced providers of tooth whitening products for use at home. OnlySmile focuses on sustainability and wants to keep transport routes as short as possible. That is why some of the products are developed and manufactured in Germany. A starter set consists of the splint, the LED light and the gel and contains everything you need to start the treatment straight away.
The specialty of the company is not only the production location in Germany and the ease of use, but also the years of work that goes into the high-quality products. OnlySmile is still in close contact with its customers to obtain feedback and to further develop products.
To whiten the teeth, the gel is applied to the splint, which is then placed in the mouth. The treatment is completed after 30 minutes. Users particularly appreciate the fact that they can do the household chores or relax and watch their favorite series.
The need for whiter teeth can easily be met with modern techniques. With the knowledge from this article, risks can be minimized and renewed discoloration delayed. Each method has its advantages and disadvantages, which are summarized in the table below.
|Lightening Pro||Lightening Contra||Whitening Pro||Whitening Contra|
|painless||Several applications may be necessary depending on the tooth structure and the initial color||clearer result after just one application||unsuitable for teeth that are sensitive to pain|
|reduce your recruitment costs||expensive|
|repeatable at any time||repeatable every 2-3 years|
|unlimited number of uses||limited number of uses|
|easy to use at home||must be carried out by qualified personnel|
|time-saving||more time consuming|
With a whitening set for home applications, the treatment frequency can be controlled independently. In contrast to bleaching, there is also no maximum number of applications here. The method is also more cost-effective and time-saving and, overall, less risky. However, results may only be visible after several applications. With bleaching, you will usually see a clear whitening of the teeth after the first application.
Even if the advertising promises you otherwise - whitening and whitening have their limits. Heavily discolored teeth have a hard time turning pearly white and the results of treatment rarely last a lifetime.
For the well-groomed person with a conscious lifestyle, teeth whitening is still a good way to improve the appearance. The application can strengthen self-confidence and improve the quality of life.
In our opinion, you can safely use products for home use to whiten your teeth.
You can find the recommended starter set from OnlySmile under the following link: https://onlysmile.de/collections/all/products/onlysmile-zahnaufhellungsset
Do you have any questions about tooth whitening? We read all comments and are always open to comments of any kind. Let us know what you think!
1 See Eachempati P, Kumbargere Nagraj S, Kiran Kumar Krishanappa S, Gupta P, Yaylali IE. Home-based chemically-induced whitening (bleaching) of teeth in adults. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2018 Dec 18; 12 (12): CD006202. doi: 10.1002 / 14651858.CD006202.pub2. PMID: 30562408; PMCID: PMC6517292.
2 cf. Joiner A. The bleaching of teeth: a review of the literature. J Dent. 2006 Aug; 34 (7): 412-9. doi: 10.1016 / j.jdent.2006.02.002. Epub 2006 Mar 29. PMID: 16569473.
3 Heinz Duschner: Some aspects relating to the safety of the application. Teeth whitening with peroxides. https://www.mds-dental.de/german/download/09-14.PDF.
4 cf. Joiner A. The bleaching of teeth: a review of the literature. J Dent. 2006 Aug; 34 (7): 412-9. doi: 10.1016 / j.jdent.2006.02.002. Epub 2006 Mar 29. PMID: 16569473.
5 See Eachempati P, Kumbargere Nagraj S, Kiran Kumar Krishanappa S, Gupta P, Yaylali IE. Home-based chemically-induced whitening (bleaching) of teeth in adults. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2018 Dec 18; 12 (12): CD006202. doi: 10.1002 / 14651858.CD006202.pub2. PMID: 30562408; PMCID: PMC6517292.
6 See Bartlett D. Bleaching discolored teeth. Dent update. 2001 Jan-Feb; 28 (1): 14-8. doi: 10.12968 / denu.2001.28.1.14. PMID: 11819944.
7 See Farawati FAL, Hsu SM, O'Neill E, Neal D, Clark A, Esquivel-Upshaw J. Effect of carbamide peroxide bleaching on enamel characteristics and susceptibility to further discoloration. J Prosthetist Dent. 2019 Feb; 121 (2): 340-346. doi: 10.1016 / j.prosdent.2018.03.006. Epub 2018 Aug 20. PMID: 30139674; PMCID: PMC6363879.
8 Heinz Duschner: Some aspects relating to the safety of the application. Teeth whitening with peroxides. https://www.mds-dental.de/german/download/09-14.PDF.
9 see Heinz Duschner: Some aspects of the safety of the application. Teeth whitening with peroxides. https://www.mds-dental.de/german/download/09-14.PDF.
10 see Kurylo WO, Protoven OP: Tooth whitening as a procedure for an attractive and radiant smile. In: Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine: Material of the 74th All-Ukrainian Student Conference Medical Students Conference in Poltava. P. 85. Poltava, Ukraine 2018.
12 cf. https://www.dgaez.de/