Cosmetic Dentistry Blog Cosmetic and General Dentistry Questions Answered

June 27, 2012

A Review of the Tanda Pearl Ionic Teeth Whitening System

Hello Doctor Hall,
I have read and heard advertising recently regarding the Tanda Pearl Ionic Teeth Whitening System. It reportedly only requires 5 minute treatments twice a day to achieve professional results. First of all, is this system safe? Secondly, what do you think about the results it should yield? The customer satisfaction reviews are generally very positive, but these are few in number and do not address safety. I currently have professionally made trays for bleaching. Wearing them seems to aggravate my TMJ, so the 5 minute treatment suggested with the Tanda Pearl was of interest to me. Thank you for your help!
– Debbie from Kansas

I read all the information about this on the Tanda website and read the reviews by users that are posted on Amazon and I will tell you what I think.

First, this is the same basic tooth whitening concept that is used in professional teeth whitening products like Nite White and Opalescence. It’s a peroxide gel that is placed in a tray so that it has time to penetrate the tooth. I don’t see anything revolutionary here, other than this mysterious “ionic” system, which I will talk about later. The whitening with the Tanda Pearl system is accomplished by the release of tiny oxygen bubbles inside your teeth just like other systems. Here are the differences:

1. The tray. The Tanda Pearl tray is a homemade custom tray that is fabricated by biting into an impression material while it hardens. It is bulky and requires that you keep your mouth closed while using it, because it is a single tray that fits both your upper and lower teeth at the same time. You could not, for example, sleep with it and you would not want to be seen in public. The professional tray, by comparison, is made out of thin, clear plastic, and there are separate trays for your upper and lower teeth. You could be seen in public without anyone knowing that you are wearing teeth whitening trays. You can sleep wearing it.
2. The time frame. They recommend using it for 5-minute periods, where the professional trays have recommended use times varying from 15 minutes at a time to overnight. There is nothing magic about those times. You could wear the Tandy Pearl tray for 30 minutes, but it would get quite uncomfortable, as you would have to keep your mouth closed for the entire time. You could wear a professional tray for 5 minutes at a time. The less time you wear it, the less sensitivity. The more you wear it, the more profound the results. There is no secret formula with the Tandy Pearl that I can see that makes it faster. The time factor is what allows the gel to penetrate the tooth, and there is no evidence presented that the Tandy Pearl gel penetrates any faster than any other tooth whitening gel. If the five-minute time frame appeals to you, my recommendation would be to use your professional system for five minute periods, and I believe you would get equal or superior results to the Tandy Pearl results.
3. The patented “ionic” technology. I am suspicious about this and the veil of secrecy with which they have shrouded this. There is no information about what this is or what makes it unique anywhere on their company website. I don’t think there is any magic with their system. They tout low sensitivity with this product, and user reviews seem to confirm this. But I believe the low sensitivity comes from the five-minute use periods, not from any mysterious ionic technology. If this is such a breakthrough, they could make a lot of money producing a professional system for in-office use by dentists. Their apparent unwillingness to do this contributes to my suspicion – maybe they don’t want to become subject to professional scrutiny.
4. The cost. The Tandy Pearl is $195. Wow. If you’re willing to spend that much money on teeth whitening, why not go professional?

Is it safe? Pretty safe, in that it is as safe as the milder professional whitening systems, however you don’t have the professional supervision which introduces a risk factor. Their bold, upfront advertising proclaims zero sensitivity. But the fine print admits that you could have some sensitivity and warns you what to do if that occurs.

As far as the effect on your TMJ disorder, if the professional trays aggravate your TMJ a little, expect this Tandy Pearl tray to aggravate it a lot. If you really need a solution that is more TMJ-friendly, as I said, there is nothing sacrosanct about the time periods recommended with any of these systems – longer periods of time simply mean deeper penetration and faster results. So just wear your trays for shorter periods, and realize that you’ll have to increase the number of days you bleach, in order to compensate.

I hope this is helpful.

Dr. Hall

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About David A. Hall

Dr. David Hall was one of the first 40 accredited cosmetic dentists in the world. He practiced cosmetic dentistry in Iowa, and in 1990 earned his accreditation with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. He is now president of Infinity Dental Web, a company in Mesa, Arizona that does complete Internet marketing for dentists.

April 25, 2012

What is your opinion of Premium Home Whitening products?

Dr. Hall,
I got an offer through Groupon for a product called Premium Home Whitening, for whitening your teeth. Is this a worthwhile product?
– Ann from Arkansas

I looked at their website, and I have a couple of comments.

First, their teeth whitening agent is 35% carbamide peroxide. This is a valid whitening agent – it will whiten your teeth. And, with the exception of the “cold blue light” that they add to the process, which I don’t believe will accelerate anything, I don’t see any hocus-pocus in the technique or the products they offer. However, I can’t endorse what they are doing for a couple of reasons.

First, their price is kind of high. They are charging $158.00 for the whitening kit. While some dentists charge more than this (some charge a lot more), some charge less. If your dentist charges more than this and you just don’t want to pay that fee, I’d just shop around for another dentist. Sometime, just after you’ve had your teeth cleaned and checked, just call around. Tell the new office you’ve just had a cleaning and an exam and just need the whitening. How much would it be? Go to that dentist for your whitening, and back to your regular dentist for your other care. Or, another approach would be to level with your dentist. If it were me, I would just say, ‘Hey, I found this offer for a kit I can buy for $158, and I read comments by a dentist online who said this would really whiten my teeth. If you can come down on your fee to something close to that, I’ll get it from you.”

You see, there are two problems with buying this kit over-the-counter. The first is the tray that they make is not going to fit nearly as closely as the one a dentist will make for you. So you are going to have a lot of leakage, which causes three problems. First, there is a reduction in effectiveness when the tray leaks. Second, you waste a lot of gel, which drives up the cost even more. Third, there is a greater chance of irritating the gums.

And then there is the safety issue. I published a report a couple of years ago of a woman who needed a root canal on her front tooth because of the side effects of an over-the-counter whitening system. It’s always best to use this kind of thing under professional supervision. There are issues about existing dental work, exposed root surfaces, open margins on fillings, etc., that should be checked before starting whitening.

For those reasons, you are much better off getting this service from a dentist. You do not need an expert cosmetic dentist for most routine whitening cases – this is one area of cosmetic dentistry where almost any dentist will do.

– Dr. Hall

Links: Can I whiten my teeth while nursing or pregnant?
Three types of teeth stains.

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About David A. Hall

Dr. David Hall was one of the first 40 accredited cosmetic dentists in the world. He practiced cosmetic dentistry in Iowa, and in 1990 earned his accreditation with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. He is now president of Infinity Dental Web, a company in Mesa, Arizona that does complete Internet marketing for dentists.

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