A whiter smile is something many dental patients are after. As we age, our teeth can become discolored or develop a yellowish tint due to food and drink stains, genetics, or other oral health issues. Although there are many inexpensive over the counter teeth whitening products, do they work? Here is a look at over the counter teeth whitening vs. professional whitening.

Over the Counter Teeth Whitening

The short answer to whether or not over the counter teeth whitening products work is, yes, they work. They do indeed make your teeth a few shades whiter; however, they take much longer to work, the whitening is not as effective as professional whitening, and the results don’t usually last as long.

The common ingredient in most over the counter whitening products is Hydrogen Peroxide. Although many professional treatments include this ingredient as well, a much lower concentration of it is used in over the counter products since it tends to get on the gums with at-home whitening strips. A higher concentration could cause irritation and inflammation of the gums with over the counter treatments.

Professional Teeth Whitening

The main reason why professional teeth whitening is much more effective than home whitening products is that it’s customized to the patient. Custom fitting trays are made to form over your teeth specifically, so more surface area is being whitening. Professional systems also use chemically active gel that is kept on the teeth only using the custom formed tray, so there’s no risk of damaging the gums.

Quicker, More Noticeable Results with Professional Whitening

Because of the higher concentration of ingredients used and the custom fitting tray, professional whitening can get more significant results in a shorter time period. Most patients see a big visible difference with only one treatment as opposed to days or weeks of over the counter product use.

For questions about professional teeth whitening, or to set up an appointment with Dr. Zola Makrauer or Dr. Julie Miller, contact Huntingdon Valley Dental Arts today!