If age, diet, or lifestyle factors have caused your teeth to become discolored, teeth whitening is an excellent option to restore your smile. There are several options available to whiten your teeth, and you might be unsure which one is the right choice for you.
Discover how OTC and in-office whitening works and the benefits of each procedure to determine which is better.
Professional Teeth Whitening
In-office teeth whitening is the fastest and most effective way to get a brighter smile. Professional whitening gels contain high hydrogen or carbamide peroxide concentrations, which react when applied to your teeth. The oxygen molecules produced by the reaction lift and break down the pigments causing your teeth stains, changing the way light reflects on your teeth, giving them a whiter appearance.
In-office teeth whitening procedure
Before your professional whitening procedure, your dentist deep cleans your teeth to remove plaque and tartar buildup. They then apply a protective barrier to your gums to prevent irritation.
Your dentist applies the gel directly to your teeth and leaves the bleaching agent to work for approximately 15 minutes. They may use a UV light to catalyze the oxidation reaction and help the gel penetrate the enamel more deeply.
After rinsing, they evaluate your tooth shade against a grading chart to determine whether you’ve achieved your desired whiteness level. The procedure can be performed a total of three times in a single session to get the shade you desire.
Benefits of professional teeth whitening
- Fast. The entire whitening procedure takes less than an hour, so you can get a whiter smile over your lunch break.
- Safe. In-office whitening is safer than over-the-counter whitening. Although in-office whitening gels use a higher bleach concentration than OTC products, you are monitored during the procedure. Your dentist also takes additional precautions to prevent soft tissue irritation and overexposure, which can damage tooth enamel.
- Long-lasting. A professional whitening procedure can give you a whiter smile for between 1 and 3 years if you maintain a thorough oral health routine, limit pigmented foods, and beverages, and don’t smoke.
Over-the-Counter Teeth Whitening
Over-the-counter (OTC) teeth whitening products are an inexpensive way to get a whiter smile at home. They are available as strips, toothpaste, and whitening trays. OTC whitening products use low concentrations of bleaching agents or mild abrasives to remove surface stains from your teeth. Depending on the product, it can take two weeks to a month to show visible results.
Benefits of OTC teeth whitening
- Inexpensive. OTC whitening products can be purchased from the pharmacy or grocery store. Whitening toothpaste costs as little as a few dollars, while OTC whitening trays can cost over $100.
- Convenient. OTC products allow you to whiten your smile in the comfort of your own home. Some brands of strips and trays can be worn overnight and removed when you wake up. Whitening toothpaste can be used several times per week instead of your regular toothpaste.
Which is Better? The Verdict
Professional tooth whitening is the best way to get a brighter smile. It is fast, safe, and ensures that your whiter smile lasts long after your treatment. While professional whitening may cost slightly more than OTC products, it is an investment in your oral health and confidence.
In some cases, professional whitening may be more cost-effective long-term because you need fewer repeat treatments to maintain your whiter smile.
Visit TruBlu Dentistry for a Brighter Smile
If you want to restore your pearly white smile, contact TruBlu Dentistry for professional in-office whitening treatment at our offices in Burbank and Hegewisch.