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Tooth Whitening Without Sensitization
By: Katie Schaefer, Cosmetics & Toiletries magazine
Posted: October 30, 2009, from the November 2009 issue of Cosmetics & Toiletries.
Antiaging is more than fighting gray hair, wrinkles and age spots; it also includes maintaining skin health, a fit physique and a bright, white smile. Many of these effects can take months to achieve with an artillery of products and a gym; however, white teeth can be achieved in just a few hours.
Teeth whiteners are available as OTC strips and gels, but consumers seeking more immediate and dramatic effects often visit the dentist for an in-office procedure or take-home solution. In any case, many of these treatments increase tooth sensitivity and damage the gums, according to Raymond Frye, DMD, a cosmetic dentist and owner of Bling Dental. Therefore, he developed a whitening solution based on a combination of carbamide peroxide with a desensitizer.
As a dentist, Frye has observed patient reactions to in-office whitening procedures, noting the sensitivity they experienced. According to Frye, the in-office procedure is effective but is activated by light, which can be damaging to nerves in teeth. “The light is so fast and powerful that the nerve does not have a chance to respond with pain to alert the consumer that damage is occurring,” said Frye.
“The light gets very hot and it is overheating the tooth. [Also], the actives used do not need to be activated by light, so the light is unnecessary to the process.”
According to Frye, in-office systems, OTC strips and take-home gels cause tooth sensitization since the whitening agents used, typically hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide, dry out the teeth. He likened this effect to hair dyes, which employ similar bleaching agents and cause similar drying effects on hair.