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Professional vs. Store-Bought Teeth Whitening: The 4 Differences Everyone Should Know

April 8, 2022

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dr. Michael Kirk @ 1:45 pm
cheerful woman smiling

If you want to whiten your teeth and get rid of stains, you’ll find an overwhelming number of choices at your local grocery store or pharmacy. The oral care aisle is packed with whitening products, from toothpaste to strips to kits and more. With all this selection, why would you ever choose to get a professional treatment that involves visiting a dentist? In truth, there are a ton of differences between these two approaches, and if your goal is a brighter smile, then you should definitely be aware of them.

1. Ingredients

In most whitening products, the substance that is actually bleaching the teeth tends to be either hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. Store-bought products are quite weak compared to professional treatments, which tend to contain several times more of the active ingredient. This means professional treatments are not only able to deliver better results, but remove deeper, darker stains as well.

2. Distribution

One of the biggest challenges when it comes to whitening is making sure that the gel is evenly distributed on the teeth. Many store-bought kits have one-size-fits-all trays that don’t work for everyone, and you’ll find plenty of stories online about strips partially or completely falling off without someone realizing it, both of which can lead to an unbalanced appearance with multi-colored teeth. With professional whitening, you have a dentist making sure that each tooth gets the same amount of attention to guarantee perfect distribution.

3. Safety

The overuse of any whitening product can damage the gums and lead to tooth sensitivity, but what constitutes as too much? This can differ from person to person, and most of the time, someone using store-bought products discovers they’ve gone too far only after they’ve started experiencing pain or other symptoms. Before you get a professional whitening treatment, your dentist will examine your teeth and gums to make sure this doesn’t happen.

4. Health

Expanding on the previous point, trying to whiten the teeth when a cavity or gum disease is present can cause both of these issues to become worse. These can be extremely hard to spot on your own, so using a store-bought treatment always comes with at least a small amount of risk. But, a dentist will easily be able to find and treat these types of problems so a patient can receive whitening without compromising the health of their smile.

Know Your Options

With in-office laser whitening, everything is quickly taken care of for you by a professional, ensuring the best results and highest level of safety while offering premium convenience. And, you can also get a take-home treatment like Opalescence Go, which isn’t available in stores. It includes commercial-strength products and makes it easy to brighten your teeth on your schedule or simply touch-up your smile after an in-office procedure.  

While it’s true that professional whitening costs a little more and is less convenient than using store-bought products, the peace of mind when it comes to your results and oral health should more than make up the difference.

About the Author

Dr. Michael Kirk is a respected cosmetic dentist in Oklahoma City that has served the community for over 25 years. In addition to professional whitening, he also provides many other cosmetic services, including veneers, Invisalign, porcelain crowns, and laser gum recontouring. To get a better idea of how he can help you achieve your dream smile, click here to schedule a consultation.

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