Whitening strips were introduced to the dental profession in 2000. The technology behind whitening strips is based on the use of barrier (a flexible strip) that holds a peroxide-containing gel. Developed as an easy-to-use option, these strips can be readily self-applied directly to the teeh daily for at home whitening.
Whitening strips have become a very popular overthe-counter choice for whitening teeth. Patients generally feel comfortable using strips and confident in their success. Since the introduction of these whitening strips, there have been numerous clinical studies on their efficacy and safety demonstrating significant whitening of teeth and minimal side effects (Garcia-Godoy et al. 2004, Swift et al. 2004, Farrell et al. 2008, Gerlach et al. 2009). Studies have generally shown significant whitening even after a few days of use, with the minor occurrence of adverse events mainly consisting of localized irritation or sensitivity (Gerlach et al. 2009).
Summary of advantages and disadvantages of whitening strips versus others.
|Potential advantages||Potential disadvantages|
|Whitening strips—pretreatment effects|
|Convenience and cost||Avoiding routine diagnosis|
|Easy introduction to esthetic dentistry||Avoiding other dental care|
|Whitening strips—treatment effects|
|Easy in-use experience||Mandibular retention (some strips)|
|Gentle whitening with few side effects||Strip adaptation with severe malocclusion|
|Whitening strips—post-treatment effects|
|Uniform whitening||Posterior teeth not treated|
|No persistent, severe problems||Possible mismatch with existing restorations|
Examples of whitening strips used to address specific practice needs
|Application||How whitening strips may be used in the dental practice|
|In-office treatment||Instead of a take-home tray after in-office whitening for color stability|
|Re-treatment||Periodic touch-up to help maintain original whitening|
|Usage concerns||Option for temporomandibular joint disorder, bruxism, or gagging patients who cannot use trays|
|Sensitivity||Tooth sensitivity involving the posterior or lingual dentition|
|Failures||Alternative for patients whose compliance may be limited|
|Esthetics||Whitening to match existing restorations (that are not being replaced)|
|Patient relations||Patient recognition for milestones (e.g., graduations, weddings)|
Whitening strips were originally introduced in the United States by the Procter and Gamble Company (Cincinnati, OH) in 2000 under the brand name Crest Whitestrips. Subsequently, this technology has been modified through research and development and expanded to various geographic locations (sometimes under different brand names tied to Whitestrips) (Gerlach 2007). In total, there are approximately a dozen marketed variations of the Whitestrips technology that were designed to address different aspects of the desired whitening experience.
In general, there are three main variations of Whitestrips that may be encountered in the marketplace and/or the academic literature. All three rely on a common flexible barrier approach to maintain peroxide contact with teeth over a sufficient period for diffusion and intrinsic whitening . In brief, the three major variations include (1) original strips, (2) very thin gel strips, and (3) high-adhesive strips.