Professional Teeth Whitening vs Non-Professional Ones
With so many over-the-counter teeth whitening products available online and in grocery/drug stores, a lot of people find themselves wondering if there are any differences between these products and the ones used in-office by dentists.
Differences between professional teeth whitening and OTC products
The following article outlines the difference between professional teeth whitening and non-professional products, such as store-bought ones.
1. Over-the-counter teeth whitening
Over-the-counter teeth whitening kits are typically the cheapest option available, but they also contain less concentrated whitening agents which leads to diminished results. It can take up to six weeks for patients who go this route to get noticeable results. To make things worse, lower-end OTC products often contain abrasive ingredients that can damage teeth enamel. Some of these products can lead to permanent damage being done to the patient's teeth, especially if they have existing dental issues like tooth decay and gum disease.
The benefits of OTC whitening kits include:
- Users can conveniently whiten their teeth at home
- Over the counter whitening products are easy to find
The disadvantages of going this route include:
- The user is more likely to misuse the product
- Over the counter products can damage enamel
- Results take longer
2. Professional teeth whitening
Professional teeth whitening involves using highly concentrated bleaching agents that are only sold to dentists. These products can damage teeth and soft tissues in the mouth when not used properly, so they are only used for in-office treatments where the dentist will be there to supervise the patient's treatment.
In-office teeth whitening treatments are often done using a customized mouth tray. The way things work, the dentist asks the patient to bite down on a dental mold so an impression of their teeth is left on it. The mold is sent to a laboratory where mouth trays are made. The finished appliance should be back in the dentist's clinic in a couple of weeks. The dentist can either perform the whitening session in the office or send the trays home with the patient.
The customized mouth tray is used to apply the whitening product to the patient's teeth and it keeps them submerged in the product during their treatment. Professional teeth whitening can make teeth eight shades whiter after one session in the office. However, take-home trays may not produce as strong of results. Instead, the patient may have to wear the teeth whitening trays multiple times over two to three weeks.
Having a dentist supervise a patient's teeth whitening treatment also leads to natural-looking results. Bleaching agents like hydrogen peroxide are quite powerful and they can make teeth appear abnormally white. The dentist will ensure the end color of the patient's teeth is about the same as the white of their eyes or a little whiter to give them a natural-looking smile.
Benefits associated with professional whitening include:
- Faster results
- Safer on teeth
- Less likely to lead to complications
The main downside of professional teeth whitening is that it can be costly, however, the results tend to be worth it for most patients.
Get started with teeth whitening
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