Are you contemplating bleaching your teeth because they aren't as sparkling white as you would like them to be? You may be surprised to learn how many whitening proceduresand products are available, but all of them use some form of peroxide. So when deciding between carbamide peroxide vs hydrogen peroxide, you'll want to know which bleaching agent is the safest and most effective.
How Whitening Products Work
When you whiten your teeth with a material that contains peroxide, you are actually changing the natural color of your teeth. When in direct contact with your teeth, bleaching agents like carbamide and hydrogen peroxide remove stains both on the inside and the outer surfaces of your teeth.
Used in various over-the-counter and home-use whitening products dispensed by your dentist, water-based carbamide peroxide breaks down into hydrogen peroxide and urea. Once this breakdown occurs, it is in fact the hydrogen peroxide that bleaches your teeth. If the whitening product contains 10 percent carbamide peroxide, it will break down to 3.5 percent hydrogen peroxide. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), this is considered a safe and effective concentration, with no oral health risks. Only carbamide whitening products with a 10 percent concentration can boast the ADA Seal of Acceptance.
Higher concentrations of peroxide can speed up the whitening process. But for safety reasons, only dentists use high percentages of hydrogen peroxide. During in-office tooth whitening procedures, the level of hydrogen peroxide may be as high as 25 to 40 percent, so your dentist will protect your gums with a rubber dam or gel so that the peroxide touches only the teeth being bleached. Some dentists use a light or laser to accelerate the whitening process, but the ADA reports that no studies conclude that the light gives any additional, long-term whitening benefit.
Making a Choice Between Carbamide Peroxide or Hydrogen Peroxide
Seek the advice of your dentist before making any whitening decision. Your dentist can guide you on the most suitable whitening solution for you so that you get the results you want with no adverse side effects, such as tooth sensitivity or gum irritation.
You can have a whitening procedure done in your dentist's office, use a bleaching product dispensed by your dentist for home use, or purchase an over-the-counter product that contains peroxide. The advantage of the in-office procedure using hydrogen peroxide is that the entire whitening process is done in about an hour, whereas at-home methods have less immediate results.
Frequently, dentist-dispensed bleaching materials or over-the-counter products are used after in-office bleaching to maintain or improve the outcome.
So who's the winner of the carbamide peroxide vs hydrogen peroxide debate? Actually, both peroxides are safe and effective bleaching agents when the concentrations are appropriate for the whitening method. You can feel secure using either when you have the approval and guidance of your dentist.