Teeth whitening is one of the most in-demand cosmetic procedures that there is. Lots of people are unhappy with the color of their smiles, which means that lots of people are looking for ways to make them brighter.
This has led to a large market for over-the-counter whitening solutions. These are considerably cheaper than the professional whitening kits you’d get from a dentist, which makes them a tempting option for people trying to brighten their smile on a budget. While they’re cheap, their efficacy may leave something to be desired. Here’s what you should know about over-the-counter teeth whitening.
How does Teeth Whitening Work?
In general, both professional and over-the-counter teeth whitening are done by applying a hydrogen peroxide solution to teeth. This kind of solution is able to lift stains that have set into the teeth, making it an effective method of brightening your smile.
In the case of take-home whitening kits, you’re usually furnished with plastic trays that you can fill with the whitening gel. By placing these trays on your teeth for a few hours each day, you can make a noticeable change in the appearance of your smile after just a few weeks.
Are Over-the-Counter Whitening Kits Effective?
While both OTC and professional whitening kits work in basically the same way, there are a few pretty drastic differences between them.
For one, the solutions that you buy at the store will be considerably less concentrated than what you could get from your dentist. As a consequence, you may wind up not getting the results that you’re hoping for. This can be dangerous, as it often leads patients to overuse whitening products and make their teeth exceedingly sensitive.
The whitening trays themselves are also different. They’re typically one-size-fits-all, which means that the coverage of the whitening solution may not be as extensive as in the case of professional whitening treatment. This may lead to streaky, inconsistent results.
Finally, if you have cavities or tooth decay, it’s usually recommended that you don’t whiten your teeth. This could bring the whitening solution in contact with the interior of the tooth, causing serious sensitivity. Without professional oversight, you may be dealing with this type of problem without even realizing it.
For all of these reasons, it’s strongly recommended that you get professional whitening if you want decent results. Otherwise, you might wind up doing more harm than good to your smile.
About the Author
Dr. Gus Bal believes that his patients are best served by a personalized, comprehensive approach to dentistry. That means getting to know his patients as individuals and providing them with everything they need to feel healthy. Dr. Bal received his degree from the Boston University Goldman School of Dental Medicine, and was voted the “Best Dentist in Scarborough” by the Readers Choice Awards for four consecutive years.
If you have any questions about teeth whitening, he can be reached at his website or by phone at 416-613-8390.