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.

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