Getting a Brighter Smile: Teeth Whitening, Bleaching, or Activated Charcoal?


Sixth Street Dental


July 31, 2019

Studies show that nearly 80% of people between the ages of 18-49 want whiter teeth. White teeth make your smile appear brighter and stand out, make your teeth look healthier, and improve the perception of your personal hygiene. However, not all whitening treatments are made the same, and some can work faster when it comes to getting you the results you want. So what the difference between in-office teeth whitening, bleaching, and home remedies like activated charcoal. Do all of these whitening solutions work? The smile experts at Sixth Street Dental Aesthetics - the most trusted downtown Pittsburgh dentist - is here to break it down for you.

What Teeth Whitening Options Exist?

Differentiating between teeth whitening, bleaching, and other solutions


When looking into your teeth whitening option, it’s important to note that not all teeth whitening solutions are the same. To start off - though an intricate differentiation - teeth whitening and bleaching insinuate different processes. Teeth whitening is the process of removing surface stains to return your teeth to their natural shade. Bleaching, however, is a process designed to lighten the natural shade of your teeth.

While there are a variety of teeth whitening, bleaching, and brightening options on the market, consumers often have difficulty differentiating between them. An increasingly popular whitening tactic is brushing with activated charcoal. Activated charcoal is composed of treated carbon that has pores that are capable of pulling impurities (stains, tartar, and bacteria) from the surface of the teeth. This is much like how most whitening toothpaste or store-bought treatments work.

Bleaching treatments, however, often include ingredients like hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide to lighten the natural color of your teeth. Both bleaching and whitening can cause irritation of the teeth and gum, but when properly applied are considered generally safe to use.

Are All Teeth Whitening and Bleaching Treatments Safe?

Can teeth whitening, bleaching, and other treatments harm my teeth more than they help?


As mentioned, most whitening solutions are generally considered safe to use when used properly. It’s difficult to find a toothpaste that doesn’t advertise some form of whitening, which for people with extremely sensitive teeth can cause irritation. This irritation - which is experienced in almost all cases of at-home whitening beyond toothpaste - can sometimes be a sign of damage to your enamel or gums when not used properly. That’s why most whitening treatments have strict time limits and recommendations.

Activated charcoal toothpaste for whitening, however, can lead to additional effects. Charcoal can be abrasive on your teeth and wear enamel thin. Wearing enal too thin can cause dental issues like cavities, increase sensitivity, and - ironically - duller teeth.

In other words, you should always consult your dentist before exploring at-home solutions for whitening. Under a dentist's supervision, you’ll receive safer, more customized treatment, which we’ll dive into in just a moment.

Deciding Between Store-Bought Whitening and Whitening from a Dentist

Astounding Benefits of Choosing a Dentist for Teeth Whitening, Bleaching, and Other Treatments

smiling woman sunglasses

White teeth whitening is accessible from home, there are a variety of benefits to opting for teeth whitening or bleaching in a dentist’s office. As mentioned before, it’s easy to irritate your teeth and gums at home while whitening. While irritation can occur while whitening at a dentist’s office, your dentist chooses whitening kits that are customized to your teeth and smile goals. Able to provide the highest quality of whitening while achieving safe, reliable results, your dentist carefully whitens your teeth to minimize irritation.

Whitening completed in a dentist’s office lasts significantly longer than whitening at home., On average, at-home whitening results last for a maximum of 6 months. In-office whitening solutions, however, can last for 8-24 months, depending on your oral hygiene habits and diet. Additionally, you’ll see your results significantly faster than you would white whitening your teeth at home.

The most important reason you should consider whitening in a dentist’s office is due to the expertise that a dentist brings to your treatment. No teeth whitening is cheap, and while whitening in an office is more expensive than store-bought solutions, you are guaranteeing yourself a healthy, long-lasting, and high-quality result when choosing to whiten with a dentist. A dentist knows that your teeth have different angulations, shades of color, and considers crowns and fillings when whitening (which don’t respond to over-the-counter whitening kits). A dentist can ensure a uniform and consistent treatment that store-bought kits simply cannot.

Ready to get the bright, white smile of your dreams? Get in touch with Sixth Street Dental Aesthetics and learn about the high-quality, quick whitening solutions we have to offer.


Get in Touch with Sixth Street today!

125 Sixth Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
400 Baldwin Rd
Pittsburgh, PA 15205

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