Teeth Whitening: Professional or Over-the-Counter?


DIY has become all the rage, from DIY gifts to DIY home repair.  But there are some things that you should never try to do without a professional, like surgery and electrical work.  Is teeth whitening on that list?  Maybe not, but it certainly straddles the line. Over-the-counter whitening systems are typically inexpensive and easy to use, but they may not last as long or work as effectively as professional teeth whitening, and there are risks to over-the-counter treatments that can be removed under the supervision of a dentist.

Over-the-counter Options for Teeth Whitening

  • Whitening Strips: Whitening strips are clear strips that you place on your teeth and leave on for about 30 minutes, or as directed in the instructions.
  • Whitening Gum: If you’re looking for a gentle and easy way to whiten your teeth, whitening gum is a good option. It removes the outer layer of protein buildup that plaque and bacteria cling to,  and help balance the pH levels in your mouth. However, whitening gum only works on the outside layer of stains, and will not work in all cases.
  • Whitening Toothpaste: Whitening toothpastes contain active ingredients such as hydrogen peroxide and mild abrasives that remove surface stains on teeth.
  • Brush-On Whitening: With brush on whitening, you paint or draw whitening gel on your teeth for a quick and easy tooth whitening treatment.

In most of these cases, the focus is on the outer layers of your teeth, meaning these treatments do nothing for deep stains. Also, the concentration of bleaching agents is low for safety reasons, so you may need many whitening sessions to get the results you want. And because you aren’t under the supervision of a dentist, it is possible to get undesirable results like patchy whitening or graying from overuse.

Professional Whitening

Professional whitening systems use high concentration gels that would be unsafe for over-the-counter use. Under the supervision of a dentist, these gels are safe and effective, generating faster results than over-the-counter systems.

  • In-Office Whitening Systems: In-office whitening systems are quick and thorough. You’ll come into our office for a one-hour treatment, and leave with your teeth significantly improved, whitened three to eight shades in a single visit.
  • Take-Home Whitening: If you prefer to take your tooth whitening into your own hands, we can fit you with a take-home whitening system more effective than over-the-counter kits. We will create a custom mouth tray and give you professional-strength whitening gel to help you whiten your teeth within a few days.

Professional Whitening is Superior

In terms of high speed and low risk, professional whitening is superior to over-the-counter whitening systems.  It is a safer, more effective, and quicker way to whiten your teeth than over-the-counter methods.  Trusting a professional to whiten your teeth will reduce the risk of complications such as sensitivity and splotching.  If you’re looking in New Albany for cosmetic dentistry, don’t hesitate to contact us to set up your appointment.

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