Opalescence manufactures a line of take-home and in-office whitening products, all of which require a prescription from your dentist 12. The percentage in the product line refers to the amount of potassium fluoride (PF) used to whiten teeth. You can find the 20- and 35-percent varieties in take-home kits. These options are not available in Opalescence's prefilled disposable or in-office lines. Both the 20- and 35-percent lines also contain carbamide peroxide (CP) to aid in whitening.
The central difference between Opalescence's 20- and 35-percent lines of whitening gels is higher percentages of PF require less time to whiten teeth 12. According to Teeth Whitening Product Reviews, it takes 14 days to complete the whitening program at both 20- and 30-percent PF 2. However, at 35-percent PF, you must wear a mouth tray for one hour a day, as opposed to up to eight hours at 20-percent PF.
Fluoride and Whitening
The higher the percentage of PF, the greater chance you will experience sensitivity in your teeth and gums. While overnight whitening is recommended for lower percentages of PF, it is not recommended for the 20- and 35-percent PF lines, as it can lead to severe and painful sensitivity in the teeth and gums 2. The gel used in Opalescence's take-home kit is not water-soluble and is difficult to remove from gums. Therefore, use whitening trays with spill-over reservoirs when applying the solution for more than an hour.
- The higher the percentage of PF, the greater chance you will experience sensitivity in your teeth and gums.
- While overnight whitening is recommended for lower percentages of PF, it is not recommended for the 20- and 35-percent PF lines, as it can lead to severe and painful sensitivity in the teeth and gums 2.
The 20- and 35-percent PF lines require customized dental trays. Visit a dentist and ask him to properly fit these trays. If using the 35-percent PF line, which requires less than an hour of application per day, you do not need trays with reservoirs. However, if you are using the 20-percent PF line, which requires up to eight hours of application, you need dental trays with proper spill-over, or "block out" reservoirs, to prevent contact with gums.
- The 20- and 35-percent PF lines require customized dental trays.
- However, if you are using the 20-percent PF line, which requires up to eight hours of application, you need dental trays with proper spill-over, or "block out" reservoirs, to prevent contact with gums.
Opalescence offers three distinct flavors in its take-home whitening gels: mint, melon and regular, regardless of the PF concentration strength 12. These flavors may linger long after use, so be sure you can tolerate hours of mint, melon or toothpaste flavor. If the flavor is too intense, mix some toothpaste in with the solution, although this may reduce its whitening effectiveness.
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- Opalescence: Teeth Whitening Systems
- Teeth Whitening Reviews: Opalescence Whitening 10%, 15%, 20%, 35%
- Li Y, Greenwall L. Safety issues of tooth whitening using peroxide-based materials. Br Dent J. 2013;215(1):29-34. doi:10.1038/sj.bdj.2013.629
- Markowitz K. Pretty painful: Why does tooth bleaching hurt? Medical Hypotheses. 2010; 74(5):835-840. doi:10.1016/j.mehy.2009.11.044
- Alqahtani MQ. Tooth-bleaching procedures and their controversial effects: A literature review. The Saudi dental journal. 2014;26(2):33-46. doi:10.1016/j.sdentj.2014.02.002
Richard Reyes began writing in 2005 at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, where he served as editor-in-chief of "The Muse" literary arts magazine. His work has appeared in "Poesia," "Plain Spoke" and "Product Design & Development." Reyes holds a Master of Arts in English and creative writing from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where he is also completing his Ph.D. in English.