Universally valued by men and women alike, whitening (or bleaching) treatments are available to satisfy every budget, time frame and temperament. Solutions abound, whether in the form of one-hour bleaching sessions at your dentist’s office or home-use bleaching kits purchased at your local drugstore.
The long and the short of it is that it works. Virtually everyone who opts for a teeth whitening solution sees moderate to substantial improvement in the brightness and whiteness of their smile. That said, it’s not a permanent solution to discoloration and requires maintenance or "touch-ups" for a prolonged effect.
Bleaching vs. Whitening: What’s the Difference?
According to the FDA, the term "bleaching" is permitted to be used only when the teeth can be whitened beyond their natural color. This applies strictly to products that contain bleach – typically hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide.
The term "whitening" on the other hand, refers to restoring a tooth’s surface color by removing dirt and debris. So any product that cleans (like a toothpaste) is technically considered a whitener. Of course, the term whitening sounds better than bleaching, so it is more frequently used – even when describing products that contain bleach.