Professional Teeth Whitening vs Over the Counter Products

With everyone trying to brighten their smile, teeth whitening options are various in all price ranges and treatments. But does the higher cost of going through professional teeth whitening necessarily better than over the counter products?

How Does Teeth Whitening Work?

Whitening your teeth involves using a bleach solution on your teeth, usually as a coating or seal. A solution is normally left on surface stains for approximately 30 minutes to an hour, and the process continues over and over again until the organic particles on your teeth are no longer stained.

Teeth stains can be caused by bacteria contact with the tooth, such as tobacco, red wine or coffee. Discoloration can occur with aging and enamel loss, which makes the dentin more visible and more yellow over time. Excessive fluoride can also cause discoloration, as well as tooth decay and trauma from root canal issues.

Is Teeth Whitening Safe for Me?

The chemicals that are used to bleach the bacterial stains and discoloration do not affect the tooth directly, but there may be tooth sensitivity after your teeth whitening procedure. The bleach solution in most products for this procedure has hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide, which may help reduce the feeling of sensitivity, which can usually last one to four days.

What Are the Teeth Whitening Options Currently Out There?

Professional whitening treatments are generally the most expensive option but are seen to provide quicker results. This process involves a higher concentration of whitening gels that must be properly used by a specialist who knows how to use the products safely.

In-office procedures involve a gel placed on your teeth and left in for an hour, while a take-home whitening kit involves custom-made mouth trays that you can leave on your teeth for a specified amount of time.

Over-The-Counter systems contain lower amounts of the bleach concentration for safety reasons, but they can be just as effective over a longer period of usage.

Whitening strips, similar to professional take-home kits, involve an adhesive bandage that sticks to your teeth for 30 minutes at a time. Brush-on whitening and whitening gum are either left on overnight or taken throughout the day. All of these over-the-counter options can take about a week or two to show results.

Teeth Whitening Results & Maintenance

When interviewed, several dentists agreed that whitening strips were great over-the-counter options for your front teeth, but to avoid whitening toothpastes and rinses as they are seen as unsuccessful. However, ultimately everyone asked agreed that professional teeth whitening was the best option and most successful in the long term. Most of these products generally last from six month to two years, so long as you maintain a healthy smile and avoid foods and smoking that originally contributed to teeth staining.

To discuss what option our dentist may recommend for you, contact our office to schedule an appointment for a consultation today. We are located in Elmwood Park near Oak Park, Melrose Park, River Forest, Maywood, Franklin Park, and Bellwood, IL.