Understanding Different Types of Teeth Whitening Treatments

Do you ever look at your smile in the mirror and wish that your teeth were whiter? Have you heard that some treatments are ineffective, and the ones that do work are too expensive? Here are the most common types of teeth whitening treatments, how effective they are and how long they take.

Orion Dental :: Different Types of Teeth Whitening Treatments


How Teeth Whitening Works

Most types of teeth whitening products use a bleach product as their whitening ingredient. There are two common types of bleach used: carbamide peroxide and hydrogen peroxide. Different types of teeth whitening products have different concentrations of these bleaching products, typically varying from 10 to 22%.

When you use a teeth whitening product, the bleach whitens the stains on your teeth. Some teeth whitening treatments use a special type of light to enhance the whitening power of the bleach. Products with lower bleach concentrations can take longer to whiten your teeth, whereas products with higher concentrations can produce more dramatic results in a shorter period of time.

There is a second way you can whiten your teeth, and that is using an abrasive product. Toothpastes contain fine particles that physically rub on your teeth, grinding away surface stains. The same mechanism is at play when your family dentist polishes your teeth during one of your regular visits. Abrasion only works on the surface of your teeth but usually has a negligible impact unless you’re being excessively aggressive, which can cause other problems for your teeth and mouth.


Different Types of Teeth Whitening Products

Here are the most common types of teeth whitening products you’ll find, listed in order of increasing impact:

  • Whitening Rinses – Many of the big-name brands have created whitening mouth wash rinses. Not only do they make your breath smell minty fresh, but with bleach ingredients they offer to whiten your teeth. However, because you use these products in such a limited fashion – swishing them around your mouth for only a few minutes a day in total – they only offer limited teeth whitening results.
  • Whitening Toothpastes – Like their mouthwash cousins, whitening toothpastes also contain bleaches, but they also include abrasive ingredients to help remove surface stains. While teeth whitening toothpastes can help whiten your teeth on a longer-term basis, they’re not intended to produce short term impactful results.
  • Whitening Gel Strips – You can buy teeth whitening gel strips at most pharmacies. Typically, a box of whitening strips contains enough strips to treat both your upper and lower front teeth at least once a day for at least two weeks. Teeth whitening strips can make your teeth noticeably whiter but do take a few weeks to do so.
  • Teeth Whitening Kits – Your family dentist can give you a teeth whitening kit that contains stronger concentrations of bleach than gel strips and can sometimes even include a custom tooth tray. Like whitening strips, you use them over the course of a couple of weeks. Because they have stronger bleach ingredients they do typically produce whiter teeth than gel strips, and because of the teeth trays they provide a more even whitening.
  • In-Office Teeth Whitening – The most impactful type of teeth whitening is performed at your family dentist’s office. Your dentist has access to an even stronger teeth whitening gel, but can also use a special lighting system to produce even more dramatic results. Orion Dental uses the Zoom Teeth Whitening and our patients have been thrilled by the dramatic results they’ve seen in as little as an hour at our clinic.


Orion Dental provides a full range of dental services for the entire family. If you’re thinking about whitening your teeth and trying to decide which types of teeth whitening treatments you should use, call our office and set up a no-obligation consultation. We have offices conveniently located in Milton and Scarborough and we’re always looking to help new patients!