Teeth Whitening vs Teeth Bleaching

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A bright smile is something that everyone wants to have. Products claim teeth whitening and teeth bleaching and promise brilliant white teeth. Are these two terms the same?


The terms teeth whitening, and bleaching are often used interchangeably. But there is a difference. Let’s understand about them in detail.


Actually, teeth whitening treatment is the umbrella term. When we say Teeth bleaching, it is a type of whitening.

The process of teeth whitening is essentially the physical removal of superficial stains using abrasive agents.


These agents can be toothpaste, prophy paste, or bleaching agent. They contain chemicals that can penetrate the upper layer called enamel and dentine. Some whitening agents contain peroxide, which removes the appearance of the stain through a redox chemical reaction.


When the oxidizing agent Hydrogen Peroxide breaks down, it produces Free Radicals. These Free Radicals react with organic molecules in dentine and enamel and break down the double bonds of color causing agents called chromogens.


These simpler molecules reflect light differently. Hence, the teeth appear brighter. As the teeth whitening cost has lowered in the past few years, more people are opting it.

Teeth Whitening v/s Bleaching


The word bleaching is not proper, actually. It is because when we hear the term “bleaching”, we think about chlorine bleach. But it is impossible to use chlorine-based cleaning agents in the mouth.


The majority of so-called “bleaching” agents contain Hydrogen Peroxide, a non-chlorine bleach. It has been found effective and safe.

When we say that both bleaching and whitening aim for teeth whitening, then how are they different?


But there is a difference according to the experts.

Teeth whitening: It is the process of removing surface stains to restore the natural shade of the teeth.


Teeth bleaching: It uses chemical agents to lighten the color of the enamel. Sometimes, it lightens even beyond the natural shade of the teeth.


Nowadays, teeth whitening treatment is gaining popularity because of higher awareness of appearance and aesthetics among people.

The difference in the teeth whitening and teeth bleaching products

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Products that will lighten the shade of the teeth are rinses, toothpaste, etc. They can be bought over the counter. They are called teeth whitening products and they can clean off the surface stains caused by red wine, coffee, or tobacco.


If whitening has to be done using chemicals or a laser, then it has to be done at the dentist’s clinic.

Whitening products are normally low-cost and safe. How much effective are they? It depends on the type and severity of stains.


Whitening strips are quite popular because they are available easily. These thin strips are coated on one side with Hydrogen Peroxide solution. The strips are handy, but they are not effective if the stains are stubborn. If the strips contain strong chemicals, then they lean more towards bleaching than whitening.


Dentists are professionals who use the best teeth whitening techniques. Though the chemicals they use contain strong whitening elements, dentists offer safe and effective results because of their technical knowledge. It is possible to get excellent quality at lower teeth whitening cost.


Bleaching treatment is administered at the dentist’s clinic, and it may require multiple sittings. Sometimes, doctors prescribe home treatments that patients can do easily. The methods use a slightly higher concentration of Hydrogen Peroxide; hence, the results are superior.


In recent years, bleaching products with better professional-strength are available in the non-dental settings. However, it is always better to meet a licensed professional and proceed carefully.


Only a trained Dental Expert can offer quality whitening with safety. Hence, one should spend time researching a licensed dental professional.

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