Are Teeth Whitening Strips Safe?

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Turn on your TV, look at a magazine, or go online, society is in love with the beautiful white smile. A bright glowing smile gives us confidence in our careers and in our personal relationships. Everyone wants one. So what is the best way to achieve this cosmetic status?

Ways of Whitening Our Teeth (Alternatives To Whitening Strips) 

In-Office Bleaching Using “Zoom” Technology

  • This service is typically one visit and takes about one hour and fifteen minutes. 
  • In-office bleaching using “Zoom” technology is referred to as the “gold standard” because it is the most effective in removing stains and whitening teeth. 
  •  In-office bleaching can be costly. 
  • In-office bleaching can, on occasion, cause sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures for about 12 hours.

In-Office Custom Trays And Bleaching Gel

  • Trays are made after impressions taken in the office
  •  These custom trays are well-adapted to all the teeth in the arch. 
  • Custom trays can be used repeatedly and new gel is easily obtained at the dental office. 
  • The bleaching gel used is of higher potency than over-the-counter techniques and better results are often observed. 
  • Be aware that too much gel can irritate gums. 
  • Using custom trays and bleaching gel for too long of a period of time can lead to tooth sensitivity and wear of enamel. 
  • In-office custom trays and bleaching gel are less expensive than Zoom bleaching techniques. 
  • While cheaper than Zoom, these products are more expensive than over-the-counter strips.

Whitening Strips


  • Whitening strips are the least expensive of all techniques.  
  • Easy to use
  • Easy to obtain: Sold over the counter at a pharmacy or from a dental office, no prescription needed. 
  • Effective: Results can be seen in 4-7 days and can last as long as 4 months.

Side Effects

  • Uneven results: Posterior teeth are difficult to whiten because strips tend to fall off. 
  • Gum irritation: No rubber dam to protect gums like the Zoom technique. 
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Enamel changes (wears away) if directions are not followed and strips are worn too long. Typically, 30 minutes, 2x daily for 14 days is the optimum amount of time for using whitening strips.        
  • Whitening strips are designed for optimum coverage, however, irregularities in tooth shape, as well as microcracks, can prevent the whitening agent from being distributed thoroughly. 

Composition Of Whitening Strips

  • PVP: Adhesive polymer that makes the strip sticky
  • Pyrophosphate: Shields against stains
  • Sodium Saccharin: For a light and pleasant taste
  • Sodium Hydroxide: Maintains PH balance on the tooth

Correct Way To Use Whitening Strips

  1. Read the instruction manual and follow all procedures. 
  2. Brush your teeth before bleaching. Be sure to wait 30 minutes after brushing to apply whitening strips as fluoride toothpastes hinder the effectiveness of the strips. 
  3. Wipe clean teeth dry before applying strips. 
  4. Cut the strip if it is too bulky and is touching gum. 
  5. Follow the watch time designated by the manufacturer.  Wearing whitening strips longer or overnight does NOT improve results but will weaken the enamel
  6. Peel strips off after the allotted time. 
  7. After removing the strips it is important to rinse your mouth with water or non-alcoholic mouthwash
  8. After rinsing it is important to gently brush teeth. All peroxide must be removed. 
  9. Avoid eating for one hour after strip removal. Immediately after applying a whitening strip, teeth become more porous so they are more sensitive to hot and cold stimuli and can easily pick up new stains from food. 
  10. For two day following bleaching, it is best practice not to consume any food or drink that could stain a white shirt I.e. tea, coffee, wine, tomato sauce, etc.

172 NYC Dental

At 172 NYC Dental we enjoy creating beautiful, bright, white smiles for our patients. When appropriate, bleaching of one’s teeth is the simplest, easiest, and least expensive way to create a sophisticated look. Our doctors will guide you into the very best treatment for you. Call us at 646-921-5541 to make an appointment; when you smile the whole world smiles back at you.

About Dr. Ben Ifraimov

Dr. Ben Ifraimov is a top cosmetic and restorative dentist in New York City, providing the highest caliber of care for his patients at 209 NYC Dental in the Midtown East neighborhood of Manhattan. Dr. Ifraimov has extensive training in all areas of dentistry, providing the most advanced treatments for an array of oral health issues, including implant restorations, crowns and bridges, porcelain veneers and onlays, cosmetic bonding and Zoom whitening, as well as routine cleaning and examination, gum disease care and treatment, and treatment of dental emergencies.

Questions? Contact us online or give us a call at 646-921-5541 today!
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