Tooth Whitening/Bleaching - American Dental Association

Over the past two decades, tooth whitening or bleaching has become one of the most popular esthetic dental treatments (Note: this paper uses the terms "whitening" and “bleaching," interchangeably). Since the 1800s, the initial focus of dentists in this area was on in-office bleaching of non-vital teeth that had discolored as a result of trauma to the tooth or from endodontic treatment. By the late 1980s, the field of tooth whitening dramatically changed with the development of dentist-prescribed, home-applied bleaching (tray bleaching) and other products and techniques for vital tooth bleaching that could be applied both in the dental office and at home.




The tooth whitening market has evolved into four categories: professionally applied (in the dental office); dentist-prescribed/dispensed (patient home-use); consumerpurchased/over-the-counter (OTC) (applied by patients); and other non-dental options. 

Additionally, dentist-dispensed bleaching materials are sometimes used at home after dental office bleaching to maintain or improve whitening results.
Consumer whitening products available today for home use include gels, rinses, chewing gums, toothpastes, paint-on films and strips. The latest tooth whitening trend is the availability of whitening treatments or kits in non-dental retail settings, such as mall kiosks, salons, spas and, more recently, aboard passenger cruise ships. Nondental whitening venues have come under scrutiny in several states and jurisdictions, resulting in actions to reserve the delivery of this service to dentists or appropriately supervised allied dental personnel.



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