Safe, Effective Teeth Whitening – Can It Be Found Over-the-Counter?
Cheap Teeth Whitening: Is It Really Safe and Effective as People Claim?
Because of the popularity of sparklingly white teeth (aka the Hollywood Smile), teeth whitening procedures have skyrocketed.
Not only are people interested in professional, in-office teeth bleaching, but they’ve also become intrigued by the over-the-counter bleaching systems they can find at their drug store or supermarket.
These products definitely have one thing going for them – they’re cheaper than their professional, prescription, in-office counterparts.
But do they really get the job done? Are they as safe and effective as so many people claim?
2 Common DIY Teeth Whitening Options and Why They’re Not Ideal Solutions
Two cheap, DIY teeth whitening options have me particularly concerned right now. Let’s take a look at why they’re popular and whether or not they’re safe and effective.
1. Activated Charcoal
Why So Popular: With alternative health, wellness, and medical treatments on the rise, many want to tackle the dental world with these treatments. One of them is activated charcoal, a taste-less, odor-less powder. It’s been hailed as one of the best alternative treatments for getting clean teeth and for whitening teeth. Plus, it’s typically pretty cheap – depending on where you purchase it.
The Downside: The not-so-great thing about activated charcoal is that we just don’t know that much about it. We don’t know if there are any long-term side-effects, or if the product could eventually damage the teeth or soft tissues of the mouth.
Another downside is that it’s not that effective. Some people may experience some whitening effects. However, the product is only on the teeth for maybe five minutes. It takes a lot longer than five minutes to get dramatically whiter teeth, especially for people who have very dark or very deep stains.
2. Over-the-Counter Whitening Strips
Why So Popular: Three reasons pop to mind when I think of why these strips – like Crest White Strips – are so popular.
- They’re affordable for many people.
- Some people have found them to be effective.
- The marketing campaigns for these products are extensive.
The Downside: Even though they’re not paying a lot of money for the product, a lot of people expect incredible results. However, these products aren’t as effective as they’re made to appear on television.
First of all, take a close look at the actors and actresses in those commercials. Their teeth are already very white – maybe not “Hollywood white,” but still white. Going from white to whiter is not that difficult.
But the majority of people who want whiter teeth aren’t starting out with nearly-white teeth. They usually have some more serious staining issues. Whitening strips are usually not effective in these circumstances.
Another concern I have with this type of teeth whitening system is that, because the bleach isn’t being delivered in custom trays, quite a bit of the bleaching product will end up on the gum tissue. This is concerning because the product can actually burn the delicate tissues of the mouth. With custom trays, it’s easier to remove any excess bleach.
Prescription Dental Whitening – the Tried and Tested Technique
Professional teeth whitening systems – while pricier than over-the-counter options – are still the best product for your money. These products have undergone years of testing, as well as years of use in dental practices.
A professional bleaching product will effectively whiten your smile – even if you have dark, deep stains. And they’re safe. If you ever experience any sensitivity while bleaching (which is a possibility with any teeth whitening system), we have products that can calm your teeth and allow you to continue bleaching.
Most people who use professional whitening systems can also whiten many shades lighter than their current shade. This isn’t possible with over-the-counter products.
In the end, I offer these products to my patients because they have proven to be safe and effective, and they give my patients more bang for their buck!
Your Dentist Can Help You Make the Best Decision
It may be tempting to go the cheap route when it comes to something like brightening your smile.
The issue is that our teeth – as strong as they are – are still susceptible to major damage from cheap, over-the-counter products.
Instead of risking dental damage, why not go the safe route? Invest in professional teeth whitening if you want a brighter smile. I can find the best system for your dental needs. With assistance from my dental office, we can keep your teeth healthy and strong for years to come!
Would you like more information about teeth whitening? Contact Dr. Westman office today to schedule a consultation