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Professional Teeth Whitening vs OTC Treatments

teeth whitening

Teeth whitening is one of the easiest ways to improve your smile. A brilliantly white smile is often associated with good oral health, proper self-care, and grooming, making teeth-whitening products and treatments very popular. However, with so many whitening products available over the counter, many adults often wonder if professional whitening treatments are actually more effective than the conditioners, creams, and patches they buy at the store. Continue reading to understand the difference between over-the-counter and professional whitening products and which option is better.

How Does Teeth Whitening Work? 

The process of teeth whitening is very simple. The steps vary depending on the products you use and whether you want to whiten them at home or professionally at your dentist. Teeth whitening products contain one of two tooth-bleaching agents: hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. These ingredients break down stains into smaller fragments and reduce the color intensity, making your teeth whiter. Unfortunately, bleaching does not work on all teeth. Therefore, it is important to consult your dentist to determine the correct procedure for your teeth.

Teeth Whitening Options

OTC Whitening Treatments

At-home whitening kits are not prescribed by a doctor and can be found in your local stores and pharmacies. There are many types of kits, including rinses, paint-on brushes, chewing gums, and whitening strips. They often contain peroxide, which works under the surface to whiten the enamel.

Professional Teeth Whitening

Professional bleaching takes place in a dentist’s office. Office whitening treatments take about an hour to complete. Before you have teeth whitening, your dentist will likely check your overall dental health. Some medical conditions can make the procedure uncomfortable, such as gum disease or infection. Your dentist can help you address oral health concerns so you can continue with cosmetic treatments. 

The Difference Between Professional Teeth Whitening And Home Teeth Whitening

There are a few key differences between at-home teeth whitening and professional teeth whitening. General differences include: 

  • Convenience: One of the great benefits of OTC whitening products is that you can apply them to your teeth at home without having to go to the dentist. 

  • Less time: OTC treatments are easy to use and relatively inexpensive. However, you should think twice before just using these types of products to whiten your teeth. Whitening teeth at home takes a lot of time compared to going to the dentist to get comparable results. Office whiteners are much stronger than the other alternatives because they have more peroxide in the solution. You can change the color of your teeth faster than you can at home. 

  • Longevity: Because of the concentration of the solution, clinical whitening can penetrate deep into the tooth surface, and your teeth will stay whiter for longer than with at-home whitening methods.

  • Customization: No two people’s teeth are exactly alike. DIY whitening kits do not cater to patients’ individual needs. Professional teeth whitening can be individually adjusted to your individual needs. You’ll get the best whitening results for your mouth, focusing on the most affected areas.

  • Safety: In-office whitening is safer than over-the-counter whitening. Although in-office whitening gels use higher concentrations of the bleach than OTC products, you will be monitored throughout the process. Your dentist will also take extra precautions to avoid soft tissue irritation and overexposure, which can damage tooth enamel.

If you are considering making your smiler whiter, Medical Arts Dentistry can help you with not only whitening treatment but additional treatment to adjust the color or other aspects of the appearance. Our goal is to help our patients achieve a smile they feel confident about. Call (912) 355-0605 for our Savannah location and (912) 921-0401 for our Georgetown location.


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