Over-the-Counter Vs. Professional Teeth Whitening

Mar 31, 2023 | Cosmetic Dentistry

Teeth whitening is one of the best ways to enhance your appearance and boost your confidence. When it comes to whitening teeth, there are several options available for achieving a brighter smile. These range from over-the-counter products such as toothpaste and whitening strips to professional treatments provided by dentists. Many people will choose the less expensive option of using over-the-counter products, but there are certain advantages that come with choosing to get professional teeth whitening.

Why You May Need Tooth Whitening

Teeth can slowly be discolored over a period of time. Additionally, your teeth can be discolored or stained due to lifestyle choices such as smoking and drinking coffee or tea regularly. For these many reasons, tooth whitening may be necessary to revert back to your original, bright smile.  External discoloration is best treated with whitening products, while internal discoloration may require other dental work, such as dental veneers or crowns.

Over-the-Counter Treatments

Over-the-counter treatments include whitening toothpaste, gels, and strips, which are all purposed for removing surface stains from the exterior of your teeth. Typically, these products work to gently scrub away surface stains while also providing a bleaching action that helps to lighten the shade of your teeth.

Types of Over-the-Counter Whitening Treatments

  • Gels: Gels are typically applied to the surface of the teeth with a brush or swab and they usually need to be applied several times each day.
  • Toothpaste: Whitening toothpaste, like regular toothpaste, is designed to remove surface stains and lighten the shade of your teeth. Whitening toothpaste can be abrasive and damaging to teeth at times causing gum recession.
  • Strips: Whitening strips are a type of adhesive that can be applied directly to the surface of your teeth. These strips usually need to be worn for several hours each day and can be applied to the front, back, or sides of your teeth.

Pros of Over-the-Counter Treatments:

  • Cheaper than professional treatments
  • Easy to find and purchase
  • Useful for a quick and temporary fix 

Cons of Over-the-Counter Treatments:

  • Results can be limited
  • The whitening effect may not last long
  • Can cause tooth sensitivity or irritation

In-Office Teeth Whitening

Professional teeth whitening is a procedure that uses stronger concentrations of hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide to bleach and lighten the color of teeth. Professional treatments are usually administered in-office by a dentist, who will first clean your teeth and apply the bleaching solution directly to your teeth before using special lights or lasers to activate it.

At Salling and Tate Dentistry, in-office whitening only requires one visit to the office. The whitening treatment takes about an hour and a half, and patients can see an initial change in the shade of teeth upon completion. Teeth will also continue to brighten over the next few days following their treatment.

Pros of In-Office Teeth Whitening:

  • More effective at producing long-lasting results
  • Can provide instant results in just one visit

Cons of In-Office Teeth Whitening:

  • More expensive than over-the-counter treatments
  • Can cause sensitivity due to such a strong whitening solution being applied

Professional Take Home Whitening 

Take home whitening bought from the dental office is a great option to whiten teeth at a faster rate than over the counter solutions but with reduced chance of sensitivity like with in office whitening; such as the Opalescence Go Teeth Whitening. This is a tray preloaded with a whitening solution that anyone can use, as it molds directly to your mouth! Opalescence is both easy to use, fast, and simple!

Salling and Tate Dentistry also offers syringes of whitening solutions of different strengths for patients that already have custom trays. This gives patients the convenience of whitening in their own home while still providing higher-concentration solutions.

Professional treatments are the best option for those looking to achieve a brighter, whiter smile. However, it is important to note that in-office teeth whitening treatments can be more expensive and may require multiple visits or discipline at home to complete. Before deciding on a teeth whitening treatment, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of both professional and over-the-counter options to determine which one is right for you!

When to Use Each Treatment

Over-the-counter teeth whitening treatments should be used if you want a quick and easy whitening solution with minimal cost. These products are best suited for those who don’t need dramatic results since they can only provide minor improvements in the shade of your teeth.

In-office teeth whitening is ideal for anyone looking to achieve more dramatic results in a shorter amount of time. Professional treatments are also recommended if you have stained or discolored teeth due to lifestyle choices such as smoking or drinking coffee or tea regularly. Take-home treatments from your dentist are best if you already have custom trays and are looking for an at-home solution!

No matter what treatment you choose, it is important to remember that professional advice from an experienced dentist is key when it comes to achieving the best possible results and maintaining healthy, white teeth. Consulting with a dentist is the best way to determine which type of whitening treatment is right for you!

Contact Salling and Tate Dentistry to Schedule an Appointment!

If you’re looking for a professional teeth whitening treatment,  it’s important to find a dentist you trust. A good dentist will be able to explain the different treatment options and help you choose the one that is most suited to your needs. At Salling and Tate Dentistry, we specialize in cosmetic dentistry and offer a variety of professional whitening treatments to help you achieve your desired results. If you’re looking for a brighter, whiter smile, contact us today to learn more about how we can help you achieve just that! With regular maintenance and proper dental hygiene, professional teeth whitening can keep your smile looking bright for years to come. Call our office today at 910-256-9040 to schedule an appointment!