Professional Teeth Whitening Compared to OTC Teeth Whitening Kits
Beautiful teeth are a reason to smile! On the other hand, if you have teeth that are stained or yellowing due to smoking or eating and drinking certain foods like chocolate, berries, wine, coffee, or tea, you may feel like holding back instead of smiling. Stains and yellowing are unsightly and this problem can negatively impact your life in a variety of ways. At Eric Yao DDS, MAGD, we regularly work with our patients to whiten their teeth so that they have a smile that shines. Professional teeth whitening can impact a patient’s life on many levels from having better dental health to increased self-esteem!
Many of our patients at Eric Yao DDS, MAGD, ask us for guidance on how best to address the problem of a faded smile. Some patients feel like Over-The-Counter (OTC) products would work best for them while others choose professional whitening. This article discusses the potential benefits of both teeth whitening options.
OTC Teeth Whitening
There are a variety of OTC whitening products including whitening toothpastes, strips, gels, and trays that are supposed to eliminate annoying stains on the teeth permanently. Each of these products requires that users follow a specific protocol in order to see results. Unfortunately, the results are usually quite a bit less dramatic than what patients had hoped for and they often require quite a bit more effort than patients thought that they would as well.
OTC Teeth Whitening is performed at home by the patient. Some patients choose this method of teeth whitening because they want a convenient solution to the problem of yellow or stained teeth. These teeth whitening products can be purchased at a grocery store or pharmacy. They contain a smaller proportion of active ingredients than professional teeth whitening systems because the potential for damage is much greater for patients who attempt teeth whitening at home. To lower the risk that the bleaching agents will cause harm to the teeth and gums, OTC product manufacturers try to mitigate this risk by offering a weaker formula for treatment. The end result is that often, at-home whitening kits have very little effect on the color of the teeth.
Unfortunately, many patients who buy whitening kits leave the product on the teeth too long or they don’t follow the instructions exactly. The teeth may end up having white “spots” as a result, where parts of the teeth are whitened and other parts are not. Or the teeth and gums may be damaged by over-exposure to the active ingredients. Indeed, if the gums have receded, at-home whitening solutions could leave the exposed roots of the teeth yellow while bleaching the part of the teeth above the gumline. Obviously, the results of at-home whitening are unsightly when this occurs.
Though many patients give OTC whitening kits a try, many find that the so-called convenience of using these products is rather challenging and time-consuming. Because patients who use at-home whitening kits are fully responsible for the final results, the process of whitening the teeth is hardly relaxing or enjoyable. And the end-results are typically anti-climactic.
Professional Teeth Whitening
Professional teeth whitening is done in a dental office and at Eric Yao DDS, MAGD, our patients tend to be ecstatic about the final results of their treatment! While OTC teeth whitening can be time-consuming and disappointing in terms of the final results, professional teeth whitening tends to be relaxing and end with results that far exceed our patient’s expectations. In fact, patients who have tried OTC teeth whitening products are the ones most likely to be excited about the results of the treatment. Professional whitening can get rid of just about every type of stain on the teeth no matter how severe it is, or where it’s located on the teeth. OTC whitening kits can’t really compete with what professional whitening systems can do.
Almost every patient has some staining of their teeth which means that most patients see major improvements in their smile after having their teeth professionally whitened. The process typically takes about an hour to complete. The patient comes into the dental clinic and they walk out about an hour later with major improvements to their smile. Often, the dentist will send a whitening tray home for the patient to use between in-office treatments. The whitening tray is designed to work in tandem with the professional treatment to keep the teeth looking their best at all times.
Getting the teeth professionally whitened at Eric Yao DDS, MAGD feels a lot like a spa treatment. Patients can relax and enjoy the treatment process while the dentist and his assistants determine the precise shade that would look good with the patient’s complexion. The process is painless and it takes very little time. The best part of all is the fact that the patient does not have to worry about performing the procedure correctly. The staff has plenty of experience with whitening teeth and they know how to do it properly to get the best results.
After the dentist resolves any pre-existing dental problems such as filling cavities, it’s time to determine the perfect color of white for your teeth and the procedure begins. It’s important to take care of dental issues before whitening the teeth because otherwise, the whitening solution can pass through areas of decay to reach the inner parts of the teeth. This is another reason why professional whitening treatment at Eric Yao DDS, MAGD is superior to OTC treatment. When patients go to the dentist for professional whitening, their dental issues are identified and resolved which leads these patients to have superior dental health. In contrast, the use of OTC whitening agents could lead to issues with the inner parts of the teeth or the roots.
Professional teeth whitening isn’t for everyone. Patients with receding gums or tooth decay may experience tooth sensitivity after the whitening process is completed. And whitening doesn’t work on porcelain or ceramic gums or veneers so patients with crowns or dental implants may not be good candidates for this procedure.