Cosmetic dentistry

Professional teeth whitening vs. store-bought alternatives

Teeth whitening is a popular cosmetic dentistry procedure that can improve your smile and boost your confidence. There are also several over-the-counter products that boast the same benefits. If you’re considering teeth whitening, here are some of the key differences between professional treatments and store-bought products.

Effectiveness
Most teeth whitening treatments use a peroxide solution to bleach stained teeth. Store-bought products, such as whitening strips, have a low concentration of peroxide and, therefore, limited whitening capability. Since most whitening toothpastes don’t contain peroxide at all, they’re largely ineffective.

Professional whitening treatments produce more effective results because they use a stronger whitening agent. Additionally, the higher concentration of peroxide in products used by dentists means you’ll see results sooner than if you used an over-the-counter whitener.

Even results
Despite their convenience, it’s difficult to achieve a uniformly white smile using store-bought whitening strips. Most brands only cover your front teeth, even though back teeth are visible when you smile and laugh. You’re also more likely to notice inconsistent whitening where the strips failed to adhere to the curves of your teeth.

In contrast, a dental professional can manually apply an even layer of peroxide gel to ensure a seamlessly white smile. A professional treatment can also be preceded by a dental cleaning to remove plaque buildup that would prevent the gel from coating the entire surface of your teeth.

Similarly, at-home whitening trays provided by a dental professional produce more even results than store-bought products because they’re custom-made to fit the shape of your mouth.

Side effects
Short-term tooth sensitivity is a common side effect of whitening, particularly during professional treatments. Since store-bought products contain less peroxide, they’re milder and often a more comfortable option for people with sensitive teeth.

However, improper application of store-bought products can cause gum irritation and minor burns. This type of injury is rare when teeth are whitened professionally since dentists take steps to protect gums before applying the peroxide solution. Alternatively, dental professionals can teach their clients how to safely use take-home whitening trays.

In the case of whitening toothpastes, they can actually do more harm than good. Rather than bleach teeth with peroxide, many of these products contain an abrasive substance that scrapes off stains. This can damage enamel and result in further tooth discolouration.

Cost
Overall, store-bought whitening treatments tend to be significantly less expensive than professional treatments. However, the higher cost of professional whitening procedures is arguably worthwhile given their efficacy compared to over-the-counter alternatives.

Cosmetic dentistry in Calgary
At Forest Lawn Dental Centre, we’re proud to offer our clients affordable and effective teeth whitening services in the Calgary area. For more information about the procedure or to schedule an appointment, contact us today.

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