There is no question that having a bright, white smile is something that many people strive for. We see it everyday: in social media posts, on television, and in our daily lives. People want whiter looking smiles because of the cosmetic feature, but also because it gives the appearance of good health. But, with so many over-the-counter whitening products available, it can be difficult to decide whether or not it’s worth getting your teeth whitened at the dentist. In this blog post, we’ll explore the pros and cons of professional teeth whitening to help you make an informed decision.
Benefits of Professional Teeth Whitening
One of the main benefits of professional teeth whitening is that it is more effective than over-the-counter products. This means that you can whiten your teeth at home, but because professional whitening uses higher concentrations of bleaching agents, you will get better results in a shorter period of time when you whiten at the dentist. Also, your dentist can give their professional opinion on how many sessions you will need to get the results you need depending on your shade and dental condition.
Another benefit of professional teeth whitening is that it is safer than over-the-counter products. Over-the-counter products can cause sensitivity and irritation if used incorrectly or too frequently. Professional treatments are supervised by a dentist, who will ensure that the treatment is being done safely and correctly. This means you won’t have to worry about damaging your teeth or gums while trying to get a whiter smile.
Lastly, professional whitening is guaranteed to whiten teeth according to your teeth and match the shade of restorations, including crowns, fillings, and veneers. If you decide to whiten prior to doing restorative work, it could compromise how your teeth appear because matching shades takes a lot of planning and assessment by your dentist.
Types of In-Office Teeth Whitening Treatments
We know that professional whitening is effective and delivers results, but there are still options for you to choose. This all depends on what your dental practice offers, so it is important for you to do your research and speak with your dentist about what is offered at your practice.
All of the following professional whitening treatments use a similar active ingredient (hydrogen or carbamide peroxide). Some incorporate the use of an LED light to speed up the whitening process and give quicker results:
Zoom! Chairside is an FDA approved system that whitens teeth quickly and effectively (up to 90% of their maximum brightness) in about one hour.
The whitening gel and LED light work together to penetrate your teeth, removing any surface stains (extrinsic stains) and discoloration. With proper care, Zoom’s whitening results can last up to a year.
Opalescence Boost is another popular in-office whitening treatment that uses a chemically activated gel to brighten teeth within one hour. This treatment does not involve using a light to speed up the whitening process. Dentists like this system because it uses a 38 percent hydrogen peroxide power bleaching gel to whiten your teeth without any light that reduces your risk of sensitivity. It also contains potassium nitrate that reduces the risk of sensitivity and tooth decay. It also strengthens your enamel.
KöR whitening uses a special formulated, high-potency gel. This gel is combined with a scientifically designed application system to deliver visibly whiter teeth after just one use. KöR also claims to provide less tooth sensitivity than other leading brands like Zoom.
Patients will take home custom trays with gel to continue to use for touch-ups at home.
Risks and Drawbacks
Although professional teeth whitening has many benefits, there are also some risks and drawbacks associated with the treatment. One of the biggest drawbacks is cost – professional teeth whitening treatments can be quite expensive, especially if they need to be done multiple times in order to achieve desired results. Over the counter whitening is at a fraction of the cost of professional whitening, but it could take several weeks or months to get the result you are looking for. If you have a need to quickly whiten, then it could be worth the price tag to do a professional whitening treatment.
At-home teeth whitening options (like whitening strips, toothpaste, and LED kits) take longer to whiten your teeth. You’ll need to use the products numerous times to see noticeable results (on average). They also require more upkeep to maintain brightness compared to professional whitening systems. Unlike professional whitening that only requires treatment every six months to a year, at-home teeth whitening kits are to be used a few times a month.
Home teeth whitening is also not completed in a controlled environment, so it is easy to overuse and misuse the whitening products. Many people want quick results, but are not patient or use the product as directed. As a result, these treatments have a higher risk of complications, including tooth sensitivity, gum irritation, and enamel erosion.
Additionally, some people may experience sensitivity or irritation after a professional treatment – although this usually subsides after a few days, it can still be uncomfortable in the meantime. This is due to the higher concentration of peroxide agents that cause sensitivity and irritation. If you experience any sensitivity and pain, you should speak with your dentist about lowering the time in contact with peroxide or the concentration of whitening products.
Finally, professional teeth whitening may not work for everyone – some people may find that their teeth do not respond well to bleaching agents or that their stains are too deep for bleaching alone to remove them completely. In these cases, other cosmetic dentistry procedures such as veneers may be necessary in order to achieve desired results.
The Bottom Line
Overall, professional teeth whitening can be an effective way to get a brighter smile – but it’s important to weigh the pros and cons before making a decision. If you have any questions about whether or not professional teeth whitening is right for you, we recommend speaking with your dentist for personalized advice on what treatment option would work best for your specific situation. Contact us today to discuss your teeth whitening needs.