Tooth Whitening

I was spending a weekend at the Jersey shore with my family this weekend and saw a shop that offered tooth whitening services. When I asked the attractive young girl of about 20 years of age where the dentist was, she informed me that no dentist was required for the tooth whitening procedure. The name of the company, BleachBright, offers tooth whitening procedures for the relatively low cost of $129-149 per session, a substantial discount from dentist supervised tooth whitening procedures. The unsupervised process promises a modest 2-8 shades of whitening improvement, and lists FDA approval on their web site and marketing brochure.

When I asked the girl in the shop how the procedure works, she explained that the customer is given a whitening mouthpiece that they insert themselves, and then a LED light is shined on the mouth by what they call a “professional tooth bleaching technician” for 15-20 minutes. My main concern about this concept is that a dentist is not supervising the procedure. Many people are not good candidates for tooth whitening, including those who have cavities, gum disease, white spots or streaks on their teeth, several crowns or tooth colored fillings on the front teeth, and those who have sensitive teeth. The active ingredient BleachBright uses for tooth whitening, carbamine peroxide, is the same as used in many dental offices, and can cause tooth sensitivity and gum irritation.

A similar company that offers tooth whitening spas is called Brite Smile, but a licensed dentist supervises the treatment. I was pleased to see the BleachBright had some very useful information on their web site www.bleachbright.com/faq, the most important being that good candidates for the procedure should have a healthy mouth with no dental problems. The trouble is that a “professional tooth bleaching technician” cannot verify if a customer has a healthy mouth or not, or is a good candidate for the procedure. I would suggest that before going to any BleachBright or similar tooth whitening clinic, you should see your dentist first. This way, your dentist can make sure all of your dental problems are addressed, and that you can expect good results from tooth whitening. You should also explore with your dentist what your cosmetic dental concerns are, so that you can make the most informed decision possible.