In the last post on teeth whitening, you hopefully learned why you should consider carbamide peroxide vs hydrogen peroxide. In general, carbamide peroxide is a better choice for at home whitening.

Depending upon the manufacturer, carbamide peroxide is available in many different strengths. So which one should you choose? I will use Ultradent’s product line because they are a Utah company and the owner, Dan Fischer, is a Salt Lake City dentist, that got his start in the same professional office building where we are located. So we have some allegiance. Though many other companies offer similar concentrations and products.

Opalescence Teeth Whitening Gels come in 4 different strengths: 10%, 15%, 20%, and 35%. Choosing your strength depends on how you plan on using your trays. The most effective way to whiten is with a custom made dentist tray worn while sleeping. While sleeping you make less saliva. Saliva will rinse away the whitening gel. If you can see yourself, sleeping with a tray, then you should consider 10-15% strength as it will allow you to whiten overnight without burning your gums.

On the other hand if wearing the trays at night isn’t likely to happen then 20%-35% should be used. 20% is designed to be worn for 2-4 hours, and 35% is designed to be worn for 30 minutes. Personally, I really like the idea of wearing the trays the 35% for 30 minutes, but have found that after 30 minutes I get some irritation of my gums.. So I stick with 20 minutes and it seems to work well without the irritation.

In our next article, I’ll talk about some of things that are added to whitening gels.


This article was written by Jonathan Campbell, DDS. Dr. Campbell is dentist in Salt Lake City.