over the counter

Professional Vs. Over-The-Counter Teeth Whitening: How Do They Differ And Which Is Better?

May 15, 2023

When you look in the mirror, you may consider whitening your teeth if your teeth are yellowed, stained, or discolored. You’ve probably seen some over-the-counter teeth whitening products and know you can also get professional teeth whitening treatments from your dentist.

Both treatments will give your teeth a whiter smile; however, professional teeth whitening offers significant benefits. You’re probably wondering how they differ, which teeth whitening treatment is best, and why.

We want you to have a beautiful bright smile that you feel great about. This article will explain how the over-the-counter and professional teeth whitening treatments differ, which is better, and why.

Over-The-Counter Teeth Whitening Treatments

Many brands of over-the-counter teeth whitening treatments include various ways of brightening your smile. These products include:

  • Whitening rinses that you would only use for a few seconds at a time can take weeks to see minimal results as they don’t whiten your teeth very much.
  • Whitening toothpaste usually takes 2 to 6 weeks to see results and only works on superficial staining and discoloration. In addition, some of the whitening toothpaste may lead to tooth sensitivity and use abrasive agents which damage your tooth enamel.
  • Gel strips you stick to your teeth twice daily usually last 10 to 20 days. Most of the time, they only work on the main front six teeth and are limited and how much they can whiten your teeth.
  • Over-the-counter whitening trays, which you fill with a bleaching gel and then place over your teeth. However, these trays are mass-produced and generally don’t fit well and may rub and irritate your gums or allow the bleaching gel to leak out, which irritates your gums and stomach.

Professional Teeth Whitening Treatments

One of the biggest differences between an over-the-counter whitening system and a professional teeth whitening treatment is the concentration level of the chemically active gel and how it is applied to your teeth.

Other significant differences between the OTC and professional whitening treatments include the following benefits.

#1. Professional Teeth Whitening Treatments are Safer

Most teeth whitening treatments contain hydrogen peroxide or similar ingredients, which can be harmful when misused. When whitening products are accidentally misused or overapplied in an attempt to speed up or enhance results, they can cause permanent damage to your gums and teeth enamel.

Depending on the OTC tooth whitening product, the solution could either be weaker or overly strong, making it dangerous. If you choose to whiten your teeth, consult a cosmetic dentist first to ensure you select the best method for whitening your teeth.

#2. Professional Teeth Whitening Treatments are More Effective

While an over-the-counter teeth whitening product may whiten your teeth, it is no match for the results of a professional teeth whitening treatment. Whether your dentist performs an office whitening treatment or prepares a home kit for you, the concentration of the whitening solution is higher than that of an over-the-counter product.

An in-office professional whitening treatment will whiten your teeth up to eight shades in only one visit, and no over-the-counter products offer these kinds of results in just one treatment. Should you find an over-the-counter teeth whitening product that claims you will achieve these results, you should proceed with caution and even avoid it entirely.

#3. Cost Difference Between OTC and Professional Teeth Whitening Treatments

Generally, over-the-counter teeth whitening treatments are less expensive than a professional teeth whitening procedure. However, the choice is evident when considering that a professional teeth whitening treatment will last much longer and your teeth will be significantly brighter. Your dentist also likely gives you a touchup kit to help maintain your results.

If you choose an over-the-counter teeth whitening treatment, you will likely need to do it more often, making it more expensive in the long run.

#4. You Can Choose How White You Want Your Teeth

When working with an experienced cosmetic dentist, you can talk with your dentist and decide how white you want your teeth. This varies significantly from the experience of purchasing a teeth whitening product at your local store, as you have almost no control over how white your teeth will become.

If You Are Ready To Have The Smile You Have Always Dreamed Of, Contact Carrie Muzny DDS

At Carrie Muzny DDS, we offer cosmetic and preventative dentistry, professional teeth whitening, veneers, and surgical procedures to help you have the smile of your dreams. Our fantastic team of highly skilled dentists is trained in preventative techniques and continuously refining their knowledge and skill, ensuring every patient receives the best care possible in The Woodlands and surrounding areas.

Contact us today, and we will work with you to create a personalized treatment plan to help you get a brighter and whiter smile today!

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