Tooth whitening is a safe and effective way to remove stains from inside the tooth. A peroxide compound is used to break up organic stains. When used as directed, Whitening has minimal effect on the tooth structure.
Teeth can be whitened in office or with custom take home trays. Independent scientific studies have shown that effectiveness of both methods is about equal, however the chance of developing sensitivity is higher with in office bleaching due to the higher concentration of peroxide that is used.
The other advantage of whitening using trays is the ability to touch up the whitening in the future using your trays and a new batch of bleaching agent.
Whitening induced sensitivity
Some people are prone to developing tooth sensitivity with whitening. The sensitivity is more likely to occur with stronger concentrations of bleach or prolonged or excessive whitening. In most cases the sensitivity is due to opening of the dentinal tubules, and can be treated just as you would dentin sensitivity. One way to prevent or treat this sensitivity that works very well is to place sensitivity paste into your bleach trays after bleaching and wear for 15 minutes. Remember to give the trays a really good clean to remove all traces of sensitive paste before you bleach again.