Teeth bleaching is a way of chemically lightening the color of your teeth. The most common tooth bleaching agent used to whiten teeth is peroxide. Yes, that's the same thing "bottle blondes" use to bleach their hair! But peroxide comes in different chemical forms, and you can bet the kind you put on your teeth isn't quite the same as the kind you might use to lighten your hair.
Carbamide peroxide is the teeth whitening agent used in most commercial teeth whitener products. Laser teeth whitening at the dentist's office, on the other hand, uses the stronger teeth whitening agent, hydrogen peroxide. By law, dentists can use and prescribe more concentrated teeth bleaching agents than can be used in over-the-counter teeth whiteners.
While professional teeth whitening is the fastest route to white teeth, it's also more expensive than using the carbamide peroxide whiteners that are available at grocery stores and pharmacies. Since these products have lower levels of peroxide in them, it takes longer to bleach teeth effectively. However, carbamide peroxide is safer for you to use at home. It's just not safe to use a stronger bleaching agent without a dentist's supervision; you could inadvertently damage your teeth or gums.
Lots of tooth whiteners contain carbamide peroxide. Whitening toothpaste and whitening strips are some of the most popular options, but they're not the only ones. You can get a bleaching paste that you wear in bleaching trays over your teeth. You can get bleaching gel that you paint onto your teeth. Or you can go to your dentist for instant whitening -- it all depends on how fast you want a new bright smile!