Professional Teeth Whitening Compared to OTC Teeth Whitening
If you’re considering your teeth whitening options, and you’re not sure whether to shop around for a high-quality at-home teeth whitening product or for someone to professionally do the teeth whitening at a dental clinic, it might help to learn more about the pros and cons of both of these options. While at-home kits are often very affordable, they often fail to produce superb results, but on the other hand, professional teeth whitening is more expensive and requires visits to the dentist. This level of commitment may not be appropriate for every patient so a careful evaluation of the positives and negatives of both systems is essential.
At-Home Teeth Whitening
There are a number of products on the market for at-home teeth whitening. There are strips, trays, and special toothpastes and rinses. As a general rule, toothpastes and rinses may produce a slight whitening of the teeth, but the results will not be very noticeable. Whitening strips may produce a more striking result, but they only treat the front six teeth, so the results may look artificial. In some instances the strips can leave noticeable streaks on the treated teeth or inconsistent whitening. The chemical make-up of the bleaching agents used in the strips are quite weak in comparison with the bleaching agents used in a dental office which is both positive and negative. A weaker bleaching agent makes it less likely for patients to hurt their gums or their teeth by leaving the bleaching agent on too long or for using the whitening agent improperly at home. But the weaker chemicals also produce results that are much less noticeable.
Hydrogen peroxide is the bleaching agent used for both at-home as well as professional teeth whitening treatments, but the biggest difference between the hydrogen peroxide products you use at home and the ones your dentist uses in the clinic is the strength or concentration of the formula. As a result, at-home whitening products like white strips, tend to take a lot longer to work and they aren’t as comfortable to use.
At-home whitening products are either administered regularly over the course of time (as in toothpastes and rinses) or they’re administered in one dose, which is different than the course of treatment for patients who opt for whitening in a dental office. Teeth whitening at home generally takes a very small time commitment, but patients have to be willing to take control of their own treatment, so the overall experience of bleaching the teeth isn’t as relaxing as professional treatment when it’s administered at home.
Of course, at-home teeth whitening products are quite a bit more affordable than professional treatments. Patients can easily find a fairly high-quality at-home bleaching system at about $75 for the treatment. And if the patient is only looking for a slight whitening of the teeth with some mild irregularities in terms of the final appearance, an at-home kit can be a good option. These kits can do a little bit of damage to the gums and other soft-tissue structures of the mouth and patients need to be aware that the way the hydrogen peroxide treatments are administered at home can have a bad effect on dental health over time, but the concentration of hydrogen peroxide is low enough that most patients don’t experience major repercussions with normal use making this option appropriate in some situations.
Professional Teeth Whitening
At Washington State Prosthodontics and Dental Implant Center, we offer professional teeth whitening results that differ substantially from at-home results that patients see if they purchase an over-the-counter product. Our treatments offer higher concentrations of hydrogen peroxide than what’s available at the local drugstore, so the results are achieved more quickly and they’re more striking than anything that’s possible using an at-home product. While at-home teeth whitening does indeed work, it simply isn’t possible for patients to achieve a perfect level of whiteness for their complexion using an at-home product.
Professional teeth whitening at Washington State Prosthodontics and Dental Implant Center involves an in-office as well as an at-home component to treatment that allows us to guarantee teeth whitening that lasts for a long period of time. And the treatment is performed in such a way as to protect the gum tissues from the harsh chemicals. At-home products contain a lower concentration of chemicals but they also still allow the chemicals to come into contact with the soft tissues of the mouth including the gums and cheeks. Professional teeth whitening typically protects these soft tissues more effectively than at-home treatments can, which is an important consideration for patients who take their dental health seriously.
Professional teeth whitening typically costs between $200 and $500 for treatments and the treatments themselves may take place at more than one visit to the dental office in order to achieve the level of aesthetic perfection that’s expected from this kind of treatment. We offer a number of different whitening gel concentration strengths at Washington State Prosthodontics and Dental Implant Center, which means that we can tailor the treatment to each patient’s exact needs. If the patient has severe tooth discoloration or tooth sensitivity, for example, we use special treatment protocols to make the sure the final results are customized to the patient’s needs and achieve the desired results.
Washington State Prosthodontics and Dental Implant Center patients are given at-home bleaching trays to keep the teeth bright and white between teeth whitening visits. The bleaching trays are custom-made to fit the patient’s teeth precisely which means that the treatments are comfortable and optimized to whiten effectively.
Professional vs. At-Home Whitening
In summary, teeth whitening can be done either at home or at a dental clinic like Washington State Prosthodontics and Dental Implant Center, but if you want striking results and you like to be mindful of your overall dental health, professional bleaching might be the best option. In a dental clinic, most teeth can be whitened even if teeth have been discolored due to tetracycline use or as a result of other issues. Whitening can easily and effectively repair aesthetic issues related to staining, but in most cases, stained teeth should always be dealt with professionally. At-home treatment systems are undoubtedly cheaper and they can be used without an appointment so they may be appropriate for patients who don’t want to invest a lot of time and who also aren’t concerned about long-lasting results that are perfectly matched the patient's needs.