Profession teeth whitening (PTC) first became available about 25 years ago. Since then there have been several different generations and improvements on the original systems. There are two types of PTC. Take home custom trays or in office Zoom whitening.
For the custom trays impressions are taken, and from these special custom trays are made. Professional strength whitening gel is used at home for a period of 1-2 weeks. This method is preferred for those people with very sensitive teeth because it is more gradual. The gel used with this is still much stronger than anything over the counter (OTC). These same trays can then be used for future touch ups.
The Zoom whitening is done in one visit at the office which takes about an hour. Most patients prefer this because of its convenience. My office now offers the latest LED Zoom whitening technology. This provides the safest in office professional whitening available, with the best results. We see up to an 8 shade improvement with minimal sensitivity. Whitening pens are included with this technique for future touch ups.
OTC teeth whitening products first came onto the market about 15-20 years ago. They are not currently regulated by the FDA. The companies that manufacture them are able to avoid the FDA by keeping the strength of the gel below a certain percentage. This has created a situation where people are at risk of damaging their teeth because there is no supervision by a licensed dentist. An important precursor to any teeth whitening is an exam by a dentist to check for any tooth decay or other dental problems that need to be treated first. Even though the OTC whitening gel is not as strong as professional whitening gel, problems can still occur without professional supervision.