Teeth whitening strips are a type of over-the-counter teeth whitening product used at home to help lighten the color of the teeth. These strips are typically thin and flexible and are coated with a peroxide-based whitening gel. The gel is designed to penetrate the enamel and bleach away surface stains when applied to the teeth.
On the other hand, professional teeth whitening is a procedure that a dental professional in a dental office typically performs. There are several different types of professional whitening treatments available. Still, they all generally involve using higher concentrations of whitening agents than in over-the-counter products like teeth whitening strips. Professional whitening treatments may also use special lights or lasers to help enhance the whitening effect.
Professional teeth whitening treatments are more effective at producing dramatic results than over-the-counter products like teeth whitening strips. However, professional treatments can also be more expensive and may require multiple visits to the dental office.
Considering teeth whitening, it is important to consider your budget and the level of whitening you hope to achieve. In some cases, over-the-counter products like teeth whitening strips may be sufficient, while in other cases, professional treatments may be necessary to achieve the desired results.
If you are unsure which option is best for you, it is always a good idea to consult a dental professional. They will be able to assess your teeth’ condition and provide personalized recommendations based on your specific needs and goals.
Teeth whitening strips have become a popular alternative to professional teeth bleaching. But how do they compare? Can you get the same results with them, or are there only advantages of professional cleanings?
Let’s take a look at both options and find out!
When making your smile whiter faster than other methods, many people turn to over-the-counter (OTC) products like peroxide gels and strips instead of going through more involved procedures such as dental implants, veneers, crowns, and even surgery.
OTC treatments can effectively give you brighter pearly whites — but not as fast nor safe as those trained professionals provide.
The most common method for getting whiter smiles is carbamide peroxides, which break down into hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) under an acidic environment. The hydrogen peroxide then reacts with oxygen molecules on the surface of tooth enamel, stripping away stains and turning dull white teeth bright again.
However, the problem with this process is that hydrogen peroxide has been shown to irritate healthy tissues surrounding your teeth, causing gum irritation and pain. Hydrogen peroxide may cause stomach ulcers, kidney damage, rashes, hair loss, fatigue, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, and breathing problems when taken orally.
In addition to these risks, hydrogen peroxide can also lead to staining the teeth themselves if misused.
Because of the potential side effects of peroxide solutions, some consumers go the extra mile and seek help from licensed professionals who provide professionally administered oral bleaching treatments.
For example, over-the-counter home remedies typically involve mixing your custom whitener concoctions at home. Professional treatment consists of a dentist or hygienist administering the solution directly to your teeth via a tray, mouthpiece, or similar device.
Professionals often work together to ensure safety and effectiveness and prescribe different concentrations depending on the results you’re looking for. While cheaper than more invasive procedures, professional teeth whitening isn’t always the least expensive route when considering how many treatments will be needed to reach your desired whiteness and how much each session costs.
Typically, sessions last anywhere from one to two hours per treatment, during which patients must stay relatively still so that their gums don’t experience any unnecessary stress.
Afterward, follow-ups generally occur every week or month until the desired brightness level is achieved, after which maintenance appointments may be scheduled every six months or less.
Are Whitening Strips Or Whitening Kits Better?
While OTC teeth whitening strips offer a quick fix for achieving whiter teeth, they may not always give consistent results. This inconsistency stems from strip ingredients having varying pH levels.
Suppose the pH isn’t enough to dissolve stain bonds properly and remove discoloration. The active ingredient won’t release from the gel where it needs to go, resulting in inconsistent color change. Also, because of how strips are applied, they sometimes miss areas of dark pigmentation altogether, leading to gaps in coverage.
Other drawbacks include uneven application across the entire length of the strip, drying time, sensitivity to temperature changes, difficulty removing old strips without risking further stain buildup, etc.
Since no standardized testing exists regarding the amount of H2O2 released in the peroxide gels available today, users could be exposed to more significant amounts of chemicals than necessary.
On the other hand, Whitening kits are explicitly designed to improve the shortcomings of standard strips. Because the kit provides everything needed for proper care, including applicator tips, instructions, and multiple types of whitening agents, results tend to be far more uniform and predictable than individual strip applications’ randomness.
Kits also eliminate exposure risk due to incorrect usage and save money by eliminating the need for additional product refills. However, although kits are convenient and easy to apply, they require patience and regular upkeep to achieve optimal results.
For instance, unlike strips, once applied, a kit cannot undergo another round of action immediately afterward, meaning repeated sessions might be required to achieve maximum effect. It should also be noted that, unless otherwise specified, any whitening agent can be included in a kit, whereas FDA standards strictly regulate strip formulas.
Since the average consumer doesn’t know which particular chemical was used for a given kit, she’ll likely assume that whatever she buys will produce positive results. Unfortunately, this is rarely true, as certain acids or bases may react negatively with specific whitening compounds, preventing them from working as intended.
To determine whether a kit or strip suits you, read on to discover why professional services trump OTC alternatives.
If you’ve ever had bad experiences with teeth whitening, you probably assumed that all OTC products were similarly ineffective. Many people didn’t realize how manufacturers cut corners to keep costs low.
Why Is Professional Teeth Whitening Better?
Although OTC products have proven useful in helping people attain whiter teeth, they fall short as a long-term solution to permanently improving overall appearance. When done correctly, OTC teeth whitening does make teeth noticeably whiter, but it barely scratches the surface of what professional service providers accomplish.
Unlike OTC products, professional whitening services are backed by years of research and clinical trials conducted by experts in the field. They can safely administer a customized blend of unique whitening substances that target stained teeth individually, ensuring complete removal of troublesome plaque and tartar buildup while avoiding adverse reactions caused by other chemicals.
Additionally, with state-of-the-art equipment, technicians can customize the strength of the whitening compound based on the severity of the offending stains. Determined by the size of the affected area and degree of darkness, various degrees of intensity exist, ranging from very mild to highly potent shades.
By carefully monitoring the exact shade of your new smile, professionals can tailor a whitening regimen perfectly suited to your personal preferences and lifestyle. Finally, professionals can also refer clients to special whitening procedures for individuals suffering from sensitive teeth or allergies.
These techniques include laser therapy, microdermabrasion, and other non-chemical means to enhance visible light reflection off teeth surfaces.
What Is The Difference In Professional Teeth Whitening?
Professional whitening regimens differ significantly from OTC versions because professionals never expose patients to harsh oxidizing chemicals like chlorine dioxide and sodium hydroxide. Instead, they utilize safer options like advanced oxidation processes and hydrogen peroxide produced by electrolysis, which reduce the likelihood of unwanted side effects and possible complications.
Not surprisingly, given these differences, professional services generally cost more than their OTC counterparts, but prices vary significantly according to location, facility, and clientele. Some basic estimates put fees around $200-$800, but thorough consultations will provide more accurate costs based on your need and goals.
Despite the benefits mentioned above, choosing to treat oneself versus treating oneself can occasionally prove difficult. Continue reading to learn what sets apart professional whitening services from OTC alternatives.
Do Dentists Recommend Whitening Strips?
One major drawback associated with professional whitening services is waiting times. During an appointment, clients sit patiently in uncomfortable chairs for extended periods while staff members meticulously prepare and monitor each procedure step.
Waiting rooms can be noisy places filled with loud chatter, forcing customers to endure lengthy delays while trying to relax. In addition, due to strict regulations governing the storage, handling, and distribution of hazardous materials, facilities employing professional whitening services must dedicate large portions of space exclusively for processing complex procedures involving dangerous chemicals.
Waiting times can often stretch upwards of 30 minutes, adding considerable inconvenience to already frustratingly slow waitlists.
Aside from the apparent monetary factor, deciding whether to pursue professional whitening services boils down to convenience vs. price. Convenience implies immediate gratification, and although professional whitening centers may seem impersonal at first glance, they ultimately allow patients to obtain superior results within shorter periods, minimizing downtime.
Price represents value for the dollar, and although professional whitening services are pricier than OTC alternatives, they represent excellent value for the investment made.