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Oral Health Topics


Key Points

  • Whitening treatments can be effective on both extrinsic and intrinsic staining.
  • Only natural teeth can be whitened; in most cases, tooth-colored restorations will not bleach.
  • Whitening treatments include in-office bleaching procedures, dentist-supplied products for use at home, and over-the-counter (OTC) whiteners.
  • Carbamide peroxide and hydrogen peroxide are commonly used in whitening interventions and can readily permeate dental hard tissues.
  • Temporary tooth sensitivity and gingival inflammation are the most common adverse effects.
  • Introduction
  • OTC and Dentist-Supervised At-Home and In-Office Options
  • Adverse Effects
  • Anecdotal Claims and Do-It-Yourself Whitening
  • ADA Policies on Whitening
  • References
  • ADA Resources
  • Other Resources
Topic Updated: October 30, 2020

Prepared by:

Department of Scientific Information, Evidence Synthesis & Translation Research, ADA Science & Research Institute, LLC.


Content on the Oral Health Topics section of is for informational purposes only.  Content is neither intended to nor does it establish a standard of care or the official policy or position of the ADA; and is not a substitute for professional judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment.  ADA is not responsible for information on external websites linked to this website.