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OTC Whitening Kits and Dentist Teeth Whitening: What’s the Difference?

Image: Oasisdentalcare

When you smile, do you like what you see? Everyone wants to have stunningly white teeth, but for some of us it can be tougher to achieve that perfect smile. Thankfully, there is help out there in the form of teeth whitening products and treatments. Turning your dull, stained, or yellow teeth into a brilliant shade of white can be just a few treatments away!

Looking into the various types teeth whitening products available on the market can be a little overwhelming. There are tons of options out there, and sometimes the choices can all blend together. One especially big distinction that people want to understand is what the difference is between over the counter teeth whitening kits, compared to teeth whitening by a dental professional.

What Is Professional Dental Whitening?

Image: kreativedentalclinic

When you go to the dentist, you can ask if the office provides professional whitening treatments. These treatments involve the dentist painting a bleaching gel on your teeth. As the Colgate Oral Care Center explains, this gel is pretty powerful, “in-office whitening procedures are carefully monitored and contain a higher concentration of bleaching gel.” The bleach is left on for a specific amount of time, and much like the kits, a light may be used to help increase the whitening results you see. A professional whitening session typically lasts between 30 and 60 minutes depending on the type of whitening agent used. 

What Are Over the Counter Whitening Kits?

There is a wide range of tooth whitening products available both online and in your local pharmacy. One type that has been growing in popularity is teeth whitening kits. These kits typically come with special trays that will fit snugly over your teeth. When you open the kit, you will find the trays, a specific type of whitening gel, and in some cases a portable LED light. The purpose of the light is to increase the whitening power by activating the bleaching ingredients within the whitening gel. However, some kits do not use the light method, and rely on the gel to complete the whitening.

Each kit comes with specific instructions, but you will typically need to place a designated amount of gel in each tray. You will then place the tray over your teeth to hold the gel closely against each tooth and ensure they all are exposed to the whitening agents. You will generally need to wear the trays for a specific amount of time (usually under an hour) for a few days to a few weeks in order to see the full results.

Which Type Is Right for Me?

First, it is important to talk to your dentist. They will be able to give you helpful advice about which products will work best while keeping your teeth nice and healthy. Your dentist can also check your teeth to make sure they are in good shape and will be good candidates for teeth whitening.

Beyond a dental consultation, the choice of which type of whitening you get is up to you. There are a few important factors you should consider when deciding which type of treatment to get:

  1. How much do you want to spend? This is an important question, because teeth whitening can vary greatly. Kits can range from close to $100 and up, while most professional in-office dental treatments cost around $650.
  2. How discolored are your teeth? Check out your current smile, is it just a bit dull or does it need a lot of work? The type of treatment you choose depends heavily on how much improvement you want to see. If you just want your teeth to be a few shades lighter, you might want to do a less intense treatment. If your teeth are extremely stained or discolored, you should probably consider a professional whitening treatment as the whitening agents are more aggressive. Professional treatments are especially popular with people who drink red wine or coffee, and people who smoke because their teeth are often much more stained.
  3. Where do you want to receive your treatment? Some people aren’t big fans of going to the dentist, and would much prefer to do their treatments at home. Other people find it tough to remember to use the whitening kit consistently, and they prefer to go to the dentist and get it done quickly.

There are people who absolutely love both teeth whitening methods. It is up to you to do your research and consider your options when choosing which type of teeth whitening you want to use.  We recommend you consider how safe it is to whiten your teeth and the cost of teeth whitening when making your decision.

Please do note that some people report an increase in tooth sensitivity after treatments, so it is extremely important to make sure your teeth are very healthy when you start. Whichever whitening method you choose, you can look forward to a brighter smile in your future!



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