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Home > Dental Treatments > Teeth Whitening > Advantages to Over the Counter Tooth Whitening
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Advantages to Over-the-Counter Tooth Whitening

Whitening systems are safe and effective.

Although dentist-supervised tooth whitening systems have many advantages, there are some drawbacks. Dentist-supervised whitening systems have a higher cost and there is a longer wait to get started. The in-office and at-home tooth whitening systems can cost between $300-1000 and more. With the dentist supervised systems, there may be a wait to get started. You have to schedule an appointment, wait to be seen and evaluated and then be treated.

Over-the-counter teeth whitening kits also involve the use of carbamide or hydrogen peroxide. Although not listed in some of the commercial product's inserts, before tooth whitening, the consumer should have their teeth professionally cleaned, all cavities filled, and the gums should be healthy. The most popular products use either carbamide or hydrogen peroxide gels or hydrogen peroxide containing polyethylene strips. Most of these products are relatively easy to use, and independent research has shown that they can be effective.

The main benefit of over-the-counter tooth whitening is the cost. Of the several popular products evaluated, none cost more than $35, and some were less than $10. Another benefit of the over-the-counter tooth whitening systems is that they are available to use immediately. All you need to do is go to your local drugstore and you can start whitening your teeth right away. The primary drawback of the over-the-counter tooth whitening systems is that customers who use them may not be good candidates for tooth whitening, and the procedure is not monitored by a dentist to help if problems arise. Many of the products do not list the concentration of the whitening agents or contain alternatives of varying strengths, so the consumer can not modulate the dosage to improve results or reduce sensitivity should it develop. In some cases, systems that use trays or strips may not adequately cover all the teeth, and less-than-desired results or irritation to the gums could occur.

Most studies confirm that tooth whitening is safe and effective. Whitening gels that contain 10 percent carbamide peroxide (equivalent to 3.6 percent hydrogen peroxide) have not been shown to cause any damage to the enamel of the tooth. Higher concentrations of carbamide and hydrogen peroxide available from the dentist may weaken the enamel, but most of these formulas also contain fluoride which offsets this potential side effect.

People who use higher concentrations of whitening agents can also receive prescription fluoride gels from their dentist to help further protect their teeth. If tooth sensitivity or gum irritation occur, it is best to start using the whitening product less frequently--every other day instead of every day--and also reduce the amount of time spent whitening. Prescription fluoride is also used to treat sensitivity sometimes associated with tooth whitening. Irritation of the gums can occur from either the in-office, at-home or over-the-counter tooth whitening systems. Gum irritation is usually mild and reversible, but can be treated with over-the-counter products such as Orajel®.

If you need a dentist for teeth whitening, call us at 1-866-970-0441. We'll put you in touch with a great dentist today!

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