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Teeth whitening is a popular cosmetic dental procedure that lightens teeth’ color to enhance aesthetic appeal. Various methods and products are available for teeth whitening, each with its benefits and potential side effects. Based on recent studies and literature reviews, here’s an overview of the different methods.

1. When should and shouldn’t you whiten your teeth?

It’s essential to understand when it is appropriate to undergo teeth whitening and when it might be best to avoid it.

1.1. When You Should Consider Teeth Whitening

  • Mild to Moderate Discoloration: Teeth whitening is most effective for individuals with mild to moderate extrinsic discoloration, which is staining on the surface of the teeth caused by factors like coffee, tea, red wine, and tobacco use[1].
  • Healthy Teeth and Gums: Individuals with healthy, unrestored teeth (no fillings) and gums are good candidates for teeth whitening[1].
  • After Professional Consultation: It’s crucial to consult with a dental professional before undergoing any whitening procedure. A dentist can assess your oral health, determine the cause of discoloration, and recommend the most appropriate whitening method[1][2].

1.2. When You Shouldn’t Whiten Your Teeth

  • Presence of Dental Restorations: If you have dental restorations such as crowns, veneers, or fillings, especially in your front teeth, whitening may not be advisable. Whitening agents do not affect the color of these materials, leading to uneven whitening results[1].
  • Severe Discoloration or Intrinsic Stains: Teeth with severe discoloration or intrinsic stains, which are stains within the tooth structure caused by medication, trauma, or fluorosis, may not respond well to traditional whitening treatments[1].
  • Existing Dental Health Issues: Individuals with gum disease, worn enamel, cavities, and exposed roots should avoid whitening treatments until these issues are addressed. Whitening products can exacerbate sensitivity and lead to further damage[1].
  • Pregnancy and Nursing: There is limited research on the effects of whitening products on pregnant or nursing women. As a precaution, it’s recommended to avoid teeth whitening during these periods[1].
  • Young Age: Children and young teenagers should generally avoid teeth whitening. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry suggests postponing whitening procedures until at least 14, when the tooth pulp is fully formed, reducing the risk of sensitivity[1].

1.3. Additional Considerations

– Sensitivity and Gum Irritation: Some individuals may experience temporary tooth sensitivity or gum irritation following whitening treatments. These side effects are usually mild and temporary but can be more pronounced in some cases.

Natural Whitening Alternatives: Alternatives like strawberry extract have been explored for those seeking a more natural approach or who have contraindications to chemical whitening. However, their effectiveness and safety require further research.

2. The most common teeth-whitening methods

The most common teeth whitening methods can be broadly categorized into professional and at-home treatments. Each method has advantages, limitations, and suitability depending on the individual’s needs, preferences, and dental health.

2.1. Professional Treatments

2.1.1. In-Office Whitening

This method involves a dental professional directly applying a high-concentration peroxide gel to the teeth. The procedure usually takes about an hour and may include using a particular light or laser to enhance the bleaching process. It offers immediate and noticeable results but is the most expensive option.

2.1.2. Custom-Fit Tray Whitening

Dentists can also provide a custom-fit tray with professional-grade bleaching gel for at-home use. This method allows more control over the whitening process and is less expensive than in-office treatments. The trays are typically worn for a couple of hours a day or overnight for a few weeks.

2.2. At-Home Treatments

2.2.1. Over-the-Counter Whitening Kits

These kits come in various forms, including strips, gels, and trays. They contain fewer bleaching agents than professional treatments and are applied directly to the teeth. While more affordable and convenient, the results are usually less dramatic and take longer to appear.

2.2.2. Whitening Toothpaste and Mouthwashes

Whitening toothpaste and mouthwashes are designed for daily use and contain mild abrasives and chemicals to remove surface stains. They are the least expensive options and can help maintain the results of other whitening treatments, but they are unlikely to change teeth’ natural color significantly.

2.2.3. Natural Remedies

Some people opt for natural remedies, such as brushing with baking soda or using hydrogen peroxide as a mouthwash. These methods can be effective for mild staining but may not suit everyone. They should be used with caution to avoid damaging the enamel.

3. Considerations and Precautions

Before choosing a teeth-whitening method, consider the health of your teeth and gums. People with sensitive teeth, gum disease, or dental restorations (like crowns or veneers) should consult a dental professional to determine the safest option. Additionally, it’s essential to have realistic expectations about the results and understand that not all types of discoloration can be effectively treated with whitening procedures.

4. How long does teeth whitening last?

The duration of teeth whitening effects can vary significantly depending on the method used and individual factors such as diet, oral hygiene, and the natural color of the teeth. According to the studies reviewed, professional and at-home teeth whitening methods show varying degrees of longevity in their results.

4.1. Professional Teeth Whitening: A study focusing on the treatment durations and whitening outcomes of different tooth whitening systems found no significant differences in the effects immediately after treatment and six months later for both in-office and at-home whitening products. Specifically, the study compared 6% hydrogen peroxide (HP) and 10% carbamide peroxide (CP) for at-home use and 35% HP and 40% HP for in-office use. The results suggest that the whitening effects of these treatments can last for at least six months, although the study does not provide information beyond this timeframe[3].

4.2. Influence of Professional Teeth Whitening on Oral Hygiene: Another study aimed to estimate the long-term influence of professional dental bleaching on the quality of oral hygiene a year after the procedure. It found that patients who underwent professional teeth whitening had a significantly higher level of oral hygiene than those who did not receive the whitening treatment. This suggests that the motivation to maintain oral hygiene post-whitening could indirectly contribute to the longevity of the whitening effects. However, the study does not directly measure the duration of the whitening effect itself[4].

4.3. At-Home Whitening Kits and Toothpaste: While specific durations for the effects of over-the-counter whitening kits and toothpaste are not detailed in the provided studies, it is generally understood that these products offer more gradual results and may require ongoing use to maintain the whitening effect. The effectiveness and duration of these methods can be less predictable and often depend on the product’s active ingredients and the frequency of use.

5. In Vietnam, how much does teeth whitening cost?

In Vietnam, teeth whitening costs vary depending on the location, the dental clinic, and the treatment method chosen. Here’s a summary of the available information on teeth whitening costs in Vietnam from the provided sources:

– The average cost for teeth whitening in Hanoi, Vietnam, starts from $163. The final price can be higher or lower depending on various factors, such as the materials and equipment used, the treatment requirements, and the chosen dentist and clinic[5].

In Ho Chi Minh City, teeth whitening costs range between $132 and $132, with an average of $132[6].

Laser teeth whitening is significantly more affordable in Vietnam than in other countries. For instance, one session costs $650 in Australia, but the same treatment is available for only $250 at Serenity International Dental Clinic in Vietnam[7].

– The cost of laser teeth whitening in Hanoi is approximately AUD 225 (US $170; UK £138; EURO €153), compared to $770 (US $585; UK £473; EURO €525) in Australia[8].

– The cost of teeth whitening in Vietnam compared to Australia and New Zealand shows a significant saving opportunity. In Australia, laser teeth whitening costs approximately AUD 769, while in Vietnam, it is around AUD 190. Home whitening kits are about AUD 100 in Vietnam, compared to AUD 350 in Australia[9].

These variations in cost reflect not only the differences in clinic amenities and quality of care but also depend on the specific procedure chosen within the teeth whitening category. It’s important to note that the final price for teeth whitening in Vietnam can be influenced by the type of materials and equipment used, the treatment requirements, the duration of the treatment, and the choice of dentist and clinic.

6. Harmful effects of whitening teeth incorrectly

Teeth whitening is a popular cosmetic dental procedure that improves teeth’s aesthetic appearance. However, when performed incorrectly, it can have several harmful effects on dental health. The primary concerns associated with improper teeth whitening include increased tooth sensitivity, damage to the enamel, and uneven whitening.

6.1. Increased Tooth Sensitivity

One of the most common side effects of teeth whitening, mainly when high concentrations of bleaching agents like hydrogen peroxide are used, is increased tooth sensitivity. This occurs because the bleaching agents can penetrate the enamel and reach the dentin layer, exposing the microscopic tubules that lead to the dental nerves[10][11][12]. The increased exposure can make teeth more sensitive to temperature changes and certain foods.

6.2. Damage to Enamel

Improper teeth whitening techniques can also damage the enamel, the hard outer layer of the teeth. Using powerful bleaching agents or applying the treatment too frequently can cause the enamel to become demineralized. This demineralization can lead to a rougher enamel surface, making it more susceptible to staining and further discoloration[11]. In some cases, the structural integrity of the enamel can be compromised, leading to increased wear and tear.

6.3. Uneven Whitening

When teeth whitening is not done correctly, it can result in uneven whitening, where some parts of the teeth become whiter than others. This can occur due to uneven application of the whitening agent or restorations, such as fillings and crowns that do not whiten along with the natural tooth enamel. Such unevenness can lead to an aesthetically displeasing appearance, which might be contrary to the goals of the procedure[10].

6.4. Gum Irritation

Improper application of whitening agents can also lead to irritation of the gums. If the bleaching gel comes into contact with gum tissue, it can cause inflammation and discomfort, a condition known as chemical burn. This usually happens when the protective barriers that cover the gums during the whitening process are inadequately applied[10][11].

6.5. Long-term Consequences

Long-term consequences of incorrect teeth whitening include persistent sensitivity, irreversible damage to the enamel, and potentially an increased risk of tooth decay if the enamel is significantly weakened. These effects can lead to the need for further dental treatments, which could have been avoided with proper application and moderation in the use of whitening treatments[10][11][12].


Teeth whitening can effectively improve the aesthetics of one’s smile, but it is essential to balance efficacy with safety. Users should be aware of the potential risks and consult dental professionals before undergoing whitening treatments, especially when using products with high-bleaching agents. Future research should focus on optimizing whitening protocols to maximize efficacy while minimizing adverse effects.

There is a varying degree of public awareness regarding the risks and proper procedures for teeth whitening. Studies indicate that misinformation and lack of knowledge about potential side effects are common, particularly among individuals who use OTC products without professional guidance.














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The Vietnamese version is the main version and has reference value. We have tried to make the other versions (English, Japanese, etc.) as good as possible. Despite these efforts, errors persist, particularly regarding foreign languages. We hope our readers will notify us of these errors via the contact form or at [email protected]
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