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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.
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“Both in-office and at-home whitening products dehydrate the teeth, and because [the teeth] are not exposed to saliva, which keeps them hydrated, this leads to sensitivity.” Frye added that most at-home whitening products such as strips used over a two-week period are effective but the teeth still become sensitive.
Frye notes that in addition to tooth sensitivity, gum damage can occur from whitening treatments. “A user must be sure they are not getting the whitening material on their gums,” said Frye, who added that strips do not protect the gums from the whitening materials.
A Non-sensitizing Solution
The at-home whitening product that Frye developed, Icing 30 Carat, is said to eliminate tooth sensitivity as well as damage to gums and teeth. While the formulation contains 30% carbamide peroxide, the highest percentage allowed in OTC products, the material acts quickly and thus remains on the teeth for a shorter period of time.
“Effective in-office procedures use 35% of either carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide,” explained Frye, who noted this is only 5% higher than the at-home version he has developed. Most at-home tooth whiteners, according to Frye, are formulated with 12–16% whitening agents, making them effective but over longer periods of time. “The higher the percentage of whitening agent, the less time you have to wear the product, resulting in less sensitivity.”
To further decrease the sensitivity of teeth, potassium nitrate was added to the whitening gel. Frye explained, “Teeth are porous, and potassium nitrate fills the pores or tubules in the teeth that are dried out from the carbamide peroxide.” According to Frye, when these tubules are filled, the teeth are less sensitive.