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Over the counter bleaching products available are whitening tooth pastes, whitening rinses, whitening gels, whitening strips and tray based materials. Whitening tooth pastes contain gentle polishing and chemical agents which remove the surface stains. These do not contain the bleach and hence it is not advised for the extrinsic stains. Whitening gels are clear peroxide gels directly applied on to the tooth surfaces with the small brushes. These contain hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide which lightens the stains. Whitening strips are very thin invisible strips. These are coated with peroxide gels and help with tooth whitening along with freshening the breath and preventing the gum diseases. Whitening rinses also help to whiten the tooth, these are advised to use twice a day for 60 seconds and the result you can see in 12 to 14 weeks. Tray based gels are available over the counter or from your dentist. What we do in this is take the measurement form a dentist and fabricate a mouth guard or a tray into which the whitening gels are placed and these have to be worn for a couple of hours in a day. Usually the recommend time in 2 to 4 hours for 4 weeks. All the above bleaching methods can just lighten the tooth one to three shades. Hence the in office bleaching is the safest and the quickest way you can get a tooth bleach done. In an in office bleaching, three to eight shades of the brighter teeth can be expected and then there is a person, over the counter products are also less expensive, the results are also questionable. Additional protective measures like the gum barriers are not available for the over the counter bleaching. Hence it is always advised to get a bleaching done under a monitored dentist.
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