You can barely get through a 30-minute TV program without seeing a commercial about teeth-whitening products. The commercial typically opens with someone hiding their hands in front of their teeth, and then ends with them smile with pride and confidence. We certainly understand the appeal. The smile is a powerful tool, and it’s the first thing people often remember about you.

That’s probably why Americans spend upwards of $1 billion on whitening treatments every year. Many of the whitening treatments we use are over the counter, like whitening strips. Whitening strips rely on either hydrogen peroxide or carbamide to brighten teeth. While these two substances have not been found to have negative effects on your health, I want to take a closer look today at some of the problems with over-the-counter whitening treatments. I’ll also share a way you can whiten your teeth by several shades in one dental visit. Here are a few things to consider when are considering over-the-counter teeth whitening.

There is no professional oversight. Unlike professional whitening methods, over-the-counter whitening treatments can be rendered without the oversight of a professional. That means it’s possible to misuse these treatments. Patients can either misapply the whitening treatment or not apply enough at all. My biggest concern is that the patient is not even a candidate for whitening treatment. Depending on the condition of your teeth, it’s possible that your teeth will not respond to whitening. It’s also possible to have dental disease, which can be made worse by bleaching agents. We can tell you if your teeth are ideal for whitening so you don’t throw your money away on treatments that will not work.

An uneven smile.
One of the most popular whitening methods is whitening strips. While these treatments can brighten your smile, it’s possible to have these strips do not conform to the entire tooth. Every tooth is different, and that means one-size whitening strips will not work for everyone.

Not strong enough. As I said earlier, most whitening treatments rely on carbamide or hydrogen peroxide. While these treatments are considered safe and do not damage the enamel, the levels of bleaching agents in over-the-counter whitening is very small. That means over-the-counter cannot tackle the tough stains.

A Better Way to Whiten Teeth

A good portion of our patients ask us about whitening treatments. I understand the desire to want whiter teeth. No one wants to walk around with dingy teeth. That’s why our office offers both at-home whitening treatments and in-office whitening treatments to give you a balanced, beautiful smile.

Using Zoom! Whitening, we can whiten your teeth in 45 minutes at the office. This whitening treatment uses a special bleaching gel activated by a light. You’ll sit back in the chair while the whitening treatment does all the work. If you’re not pressed for time, you can also whiten your teeth at your leisure. We will craft a custom aligner for you to wear and then prescribe a special whitening treatment. The great thing about the whitening treatment and aligner is that whitening treatment is evenly distributed throughout the mouth, giving you a more beautiful, uniform smile.

Patients who whiten their teeth can again smile with confidence and not worry about their smile looking old or unhealthy. I hope this blog has filled you in about what to consider when whitening your teeth. I’m not against over-the-counter whitening, but it’s important to know what the treatment can do for you. If you want more information about our whitening treatments or need to schedule a consultation for us to review your smile, call us today at 248-972-8720.