Differences in Over the Counter and Professional Teeth Whitening

added on: April 25, 2014

Professional teeth whitening procedures are one of the most popular cosmetic dentistry services offered by Charlotte cosmetic dentists, and for good reason. Teeth are the first thing people see when meeting in person. Studies have shown that healthy teeth leave a lasting impression. A radiant smile can mean all the difference on a first date or during a job interview. People with healthy teeth also tend to have more confidence and higher self-esteem.

Dentist-approved teeth whitening procedures are fast, safe, and effective, but consumers are looking towards over-the-counter teeth whitening products due to their affordability and ease of use. However, do over the counter options really work?

Over The Counter Teeth Whitening Products
Consumers can buy over the counter teeth whitening products in a variety of options such as in gels, rinses, strips and paint-on films. Most products contain the whitening agents hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide, which are safe and effective. Dentists use both whitening agents, although in higher concentrations.

Over the counter teeth whitening products claim to deliver professional-level teeth whitening results. While this may be true for some products, the question is how long will it take? Some over the counter products are better than others. It may take several weeks or even months before seeing a noticeable difference. Additionally, the results might not work long-term.

The first thing a consumer needs to do when buying an over the counter teeth whitening product is to make sure that it is accepted by the American Dental Association. This ensures that the product is safe and effective. Over the counter products that do not have the ADA seal of acceptance may contain unsafe levels of some ingredients.

Professional Teeth Whitening
One of the biggest drawbacks to over the counter teeth whitening products is that they are not designed for each specific individual. A dentist adjusts professional treatment based on factors such as the type of stain on the patient’s teeth, variation in teeth discoloration, teeth sensitivity, and the patient’s age.

Dentists are also able to determine if a patient has other dental issues that might make teeth whitening unsafe. If this is the case, other cosmetic dentistry services may be recommended. If a patient has worn enamel, cavities, or loose fillings, the whitening agent can seep into the tooth and cause damage. Over-bleaching is another concern of over the counter treatments because it can cause permanent damage if the user takes treatment too far. Dentists can precisely control the amount of treatment applied, preventing this issue.

Professional treatments are also faster. The cleaning agents that dentists use are much stronger than over the counter options. A professional cleaning can whiten teeth up to six to 10 shades in only one treatment.

Which Option is Best?
Over the counter products may work for people who have the time to wait and the dedication to stick to the procedure. Results also depend on the type of stain and other dental issues. For people who want a brighter smile quickly and safely, treatment with professional Charlotte cosmetic dentists is a better option. Whichever option a person chooses, it’s recommended that they visit their dentist first to confirm that teeth whitening is a safe option for them.

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