Teeth Whitening: Professional Or Drug Store?

Teeth whiteningTeeth whitening is one of the most commonly requested cosmetic dental procedures, and one of the least invasive, most cost-effective ways to improve the appearance of your teeth. You can get your teeth whitened through a dentist-supervised in-office visit or by using whitening products at home under a dentist’s supervision, or you can use over-the-counter (OTC) teeth whitening products.

Dentist-supervised teeth whitening

There are many advantages to partnering with your dentist for a brighter smile. Dentists view the whitening process and the aesthetic improvements that result from it as one element in maintaining your oral health, so they will examine your mouth thoroughly before discussing what type of whitening treatments might be right for you. Often, they will recommend a cleaning of your teeth before the whitening begins, as dental plaque should be removed from your teeth before teeth whitening takes place. This allows the best result possible for your smile.

An in-office teeth whitening session usually takes about an hour. The concentration of the bleaching agent used at the dentist’s office is typically much higher than OTC products, as the dentist is available to carefully monitor the treatment. The dentist will protect your gums from irritation by placing a special gel on them before applying the whitening agent. He or she may also discuss a follow-up regimen that may require you to use dentist-recommended products at home to maintain the results of your in-office treatment.

Your dentist can advise you on how to deal with any gum or teeth sensitivity or irritation that you may encounter during your whitening treatments, and he or she can also help you select the most natural shade for your teeth, avoiding an unnatural “over-whitened” look!

Over-the-counter (OTC) teeth whitening

Over-the-counter (OTC) products – gels, strips, toothpastes and even mouthwashes – are less expensive alternatives to visiting the dentist for teeth whitening. However, the concentration of whitening agent in these products is much lower than what is used during an in-office whitening treatment, so expect to invest more time using the OTC products to get a similar result. You also will need to take special care to avoid getting the whitening agent on your gums, so you do not encounter gum irritation or teeth sensitivity issues.

“Teeth whitening is a great way to create a more dazzling smile,” says Dr. Carol Ford, a cosmetic dentist practicing in central Phoenix. “Your dentist can help you establish realistic whitening goals, and devise the best treatment plan for your individual oral health situation.”

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