Understanding The Differences Between Whitening Pastes And Bleaching Gels

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If you have stained teeth, then you may be confused about the variety of tooth whitening options that you see available on the shelves at your local pharmacy or supermarket. This is understandable since there are dozens of choices. You also have the option of going to your dentist to have a teeth bleaching appointment completed. If you are weighing your options, then you may wonder exactly what are the differences between using a whitening toothpaste at home over a longer period of time or opting for the quick bleaching treatment. 

Whitening Pastes Clean Away Debris

You may understand that it will take you quite a bit longer to whiten your teeth with a toothpaste than with a simple in-office bleaching treatment. This is very true, since the type of whitening is completely different. Dental whitening gels use strong carbamide peroxide solutions that bubble up or oxidize when placed on the teeth. When this happens, the stains and other debris are forced out of the cracks in the teeth. 

When you use a whitening toothpaste, you are not getting to the deep down stains like the whitening gel will. The paste simply contains a more aggressive cleaning agent that forces more of the surface debris away from the teeth. In other words, the pastes contain tough abrasives that scrape the grime from your teeth. This does not assist with whitening, but it removes the debris that makes your teeth appear darker. 

Whitening Pastes Do Not Cause Sensitivity

Many people complain about dental sensitivities after receiving a professional tooth whitening. If you have thin tooth enamel, then this can be a serious issue. The professional whitening releases the stains from the cracks in the enamel and exposes the dentin underneath. The dentin is what senses sensations through small holes called tubules. While it is not necessarily a bad thing for the dentin to be exposed, the exposure will exacerbate sensitivities a great deal. 

Dental whitening pastes do not force stains away from the enamel cracks. They simply scrape away the debris that sits over the enamel. While your teeth may only look a shade or two lighter when you use the whitening toothpaste, it will not cause sensitivity. 

Keep in mind that general food stains can be released with whitening pastes, but you should not expect to see much of an improvement if wine, coffee, or tea stains are noted on the teeth. These can be removed to some degree with a professional whitening or bleaching through.