Questions about tooth whitening options are among the most common questions for dental patients.  There are several ways to whiten teeth. It is important to understand how each whitening process works so that each patient can decide which whitening system is best for them.  The most common forms of tooth whitening include: whitening toothpaste, over-the-counter whitening systems, custom whitening trays, and in-office whitening.

Whitening toothpaste is likely the most common form of tooth whitening.  Whitening toothpaste, however, doesn’t actually change the shade of a patient’s teeth.  These toothpastes are great at removing stains that can build up on a tooth’s surface and make the tooth appear whiter.  The actual shade of the tooth remains unchanged. Other whitening systems change the chemical bonds in the tooth resulting in actual changes to the shade of the tooth.

Over-the-counter whitening systems (such as Crest White Strips) use smaller concentrations of in-office whitening materials that are deemed safe for over-the-counter sales.  This means that over-the-counter whitening systems can achieve similar results to in-office whitening, but these systems require a longer period of use to achieve those results.  Unlike whitening toothpaste, Crest White Strips (and similar products) change the chemical bonds in the tooth to change the actual shade of the teeth.

Custom teeth whitening trays are made by Dr. Romenesko to deliver larger concentrations of whitening material for a faster, professional whitening experience.  Dental impressions are required for the fabrication of whitening trays. Once the trays have been fabricated, syringes of whitening material with instructions are provided.  It is also possible to purchase refill whitening syringes for occasional use to keep teeth looking white or for a “touch-up” before any big event.

Finally, in-office whitening or “Zoom Whitening” does the work of prolonged over-the-counter or custom tray whitening in a fraction of the time.  Zoom Whitening whitens teeth in one, extended visit to the dental office. Zoom is a great option for patients that desire immediate results, or want professional supervision throughout the process.  

Each whitening system has advantages and disadvantages.  Please ask our staff about which whitening system is the best choice for you!