Professional Teeth Whitening vs. Over-the-Counter Products

Two women smiling

When you smile, the first thing that people notice is your teeth. If you have discolored teeth, they likely rob the sparkle from your smile as they are an unpleasant sight. As a result, you probably try to conceal them when you smile to avoid feelings of humiliation. Over time, this hurts your confidence and self-esteem. You shouldn't let this be you, as you can have a bright, sparkling smile without much effort. 

If you have been struggling with discolored, yellow, or stained teeth, you have likely been thinking about teeth whitening. You have two options for whitening your teeth; you can either use over-the-counter products or seek professional teeth whitening. Making the right choice between the two is critical for the success of your teeth whitening endeavor.

You can access numerous over-the-counter teeth whitening products at a medical store near you and use them in the comfort of your home. On the other hand, you will have to see your dentist in-office to receive professional teeth whitening. Here is a comparison of professional teeth whitening vs. over-the-counter products. 

Professional Teeth Whitening

Professional teeth whitening is undoubtedly the best teeth whitening solution. When you go to an in-office dentist, the treatment will take roughly an hour and a half. The two primary whitening agents used by dentists are hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide. 

In the beginning, professional teeth cleaning with hydrogen peroxide would take hours to remove the discoloration, and only the surface sugar stains would be cleaned. However, through the decades, many advancements have been made now the process is significantly faster and with more durable results. 

One of the most common in-house dental professional teeth cleaning treatments is zoom teeth whitening. The dentist will apply a gel with 25% hydrogen peroxide to your teeth using a syringe. They will then shine a plasma light on your teeth to activate the bleaching agents in the gel and start the cleaning process.

Some people have concerns about the use of plasma lights in professional teeth whitening because of its supposed side effects. You should know that you have nothing to worry about since the side effects are typically temporary and transient. 

What goes on during a professional teeth cleaning treatment? 

Many people are usually nervous about sitting in your dentist's chair for an in-office dental treatment like teeth whitening. You should know that it's not as unsettling as you might think, for it's painless and harmless. Before the treatment, the dentist will point you to a tooth shade chart to help you decide the color you desire to achieve following the clean-up process.

Once you decide on the tooth shade you want, the dentist will start the treatment in the following steps:

  • The dentist will remove the plaque on your teeth using a specialty tool
  • The dentist will cover your tongue, cheeks, and gums with barriers and tools to protect them from contact with the whitening agents 
  • The dentist will rub the whitening agent on your teeth for roughly an hour while using light to ensure that the cleaning is effective
  • Finally, the dentist will use a fluoride paste to minimize the sensitivity issue that the patient feels after the treatment.

Benefits of professional teeth whitening

Opting for professional teeth cleaning is the best way to whiten teeth, but you should know that this will cost more than over-the-counter products. However, there are numerous benefits to choosing professional teeth whitening that offset its additional cost. These benefits are; 

Better results

Can you do your teeth cleaning at home like a professional? No. This is because the cleaning agents you will be using will likely be an inferior at-home kit, which will only remove surface stains like those caused by tea and coffee. However, your dentist will use more potent bleaching agents that can get rid of stains on a molecular level. This means that the bleaching gel the dentist will use will be able to penetrate deeper beneath the teeth surface and clean the teeth more effectively. Thus, you will get significantly better results that are impossible to achieve with an at-home kit. 

Supervision by a professional

Letting your dentist handle your teeth cleaning means that the treatment will be done by an experienced professional. Your teeth will be thoroughly examined, and professional recommendations on choosing whitening shades and after-treatment care will be provided. This supervision by a professional will guarantee that you achieve the desired whitening results safely and effectively. 

Minimized gum and tooth sensitivity

Your dentist has the knowledge and experience on how to minimize the gum and tooth sensitivity that follows a teeth whitening treatment. Therefore, you can expect to have an easier recovery. On the other hand, most teeth whitening products purchased from a store don't address tooth sensitivity issues. Additionally, some might have side effects that you don't know about, making your recovery problematic. 

Customized treatment

A professional teeth cleaning treatment is typically customized to meet the individual cleaning needs of the patients. Thus, you will get teeth cleaning that matches the teeth whiteness you want to achieve. In contrast, most at-home teeth cleaning kits offer a one-size-fits-all teeth whitening solution. As a result, you are less likely to get the desired teeth whitening results.

Over-the-counter products

There are numerous over-the-counter products that cater to those who want to do their teeth whitening at home. The most popular offerings are charcoal powder, whitening toothpaste made with abrasive ingredients, and crest whitening strips. Some people prefer them because they are easy to use, affordable, and several provide instant results.

You might be tempted to consider over-the-counter products as the best way to whiten teeth for you since most of them have aggressive marketing and advertising that features tall claims. However, remember that most of them give sub-optimal results, and you will likely be disappointed by the outcome. Additionally, you might have to deal with intense gum irritation and tooth sensitivity. 

Furthermore, over-the-counter products aren't customized to your unique teeth and smile like professional teeth whitening. Also, they don't get rid of intrinsic stains on the inner portion of your teeth, which may have been caused by an underlying health issue. Your dentist will always address intrinsic discoloration, which may have been caused by an underlying health problem during a professional teeth cleaning session.

Therefore, if you want to whiten your teeth for the perfect sparkling smile, professional teeth whitening is the way to go.

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