There are dozens of different whitening gels available over the counter and at your dentist’s office. How are they different? How should you or your dentist choose one gel over another? This blog aims to answer those questions.
Carbamide Peroxide or Hydrogen Peroxide?
Whitening gels active ingredients are either Carbamide Peroxide or Hydrogen Peroxide. The active whitening agent in both gels is hydrogen peroxide. Carbamide peroxide works by breaking down to hydrogen peroxide. So why not just get a whitening gel with hydrogen peroxide? One reason is that the shelf life of hydrogen peroxide is shorter. Further, carbamide peroxide breaks down slowly to hyrdrogen peroxide so using carbamide peroxide is like using a time release whitening gel. This is helpful for those patients that want to whiten at night. Whitening at night, is more effective as you produce less saliva to rinse out or dilute whitening gel.
So you should use carbamide peroxide if you plan or are able to whiten at night and hydrogen peroxide if you plan or have to whiten during the day. One thing to remember is to check the expiration date. Whitening gels, especially the hydrogen peroxides, are agents where they really become less effective the longer they’ve set on the shelf. Ideally, peroxides would remain refrigerated to preserve effectiveness. Your dentist is best equipped to help you make this decision.
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