The most effective and best teeth whitening treatment you can receive is a professional teeth whitening session at the dentist. The dentist has access to specialized whitening products and knows how to whiten teeth quickly and effectively. However, if you aren’t ready to invest in a professional teeth whitening, you may be tempted to buy an at-home whitening kit at your local drugstore or pharmacy. But do these kits really work?
The quick answer is yes. Over-the-counter teeth whitening products use the same chemicals as professional teeth whitening products at the dentist. The difference is the store-bought kits have these chemicals in much lower concentrations, so they are less powerful.
The bleaching agent in most kits is peroxide, which can remove both surface stains and deeper stains. Professional whitening technology also relies on peroxide-based bleaching agents. The difference is that the dentist uses a high concentration of bleaching chemicals over a brief amount of time, and the at-home kit uses a low concentration of bleaching chemicals over a longer period of time. Bleaching at the dentist usually lasts less than an hour and is often accelerated by a shining a special light on your teeth. Bleaching at home usually involves wearing strips, trays filled with gel, or a painted-on gel for a few hours per day, over the course of several days or weeks.
One common problem that makes at-home whitening less effective than professional teeth whitening from the dentist is inconsistency in applying the treatments. Many people start the treatments and repeat them on a regular basis for a while, then forget or stop when they don’t see an immediate difference. The key to ensuring the whitening treatments work is following the directions and doing the treatments as frequently as you’re supposed to.
A good way to ensure you actually complete your at-home teeth whitening process is to set a white teeth goal on your calendar. By this we mean: pick a special event coming up in the near future and make yourself a promise to have whiter teeth by then. Choosing an event where you’re likely to get your photo taken a lot is a good idea, such as a birthday, anniversary, or a wedding. For brides especially, we recommend whitening your teeth before the big day. Nothing will make yellow teeth stand out quite like a white dress!
Before you go out and buy an at-home whitening kit, it’s a good idea to have a chat with the dentist. Only a dental professional will be able to tell you whether teeth whitening, whether professional or from the drugstore, will work the way you want it to.