A frequent question we hear: “Do over-the-counter teeth whitening products really work?”  

Americans reportedly drop over $1 billion annually on nonprescription teeth whitening products to bleach away the effects of cigarettes, coffee, red wine, or simply age. And no matter how young at heart you are, or the reason why your teeth are stained, everyone wants a sparkling smile – and rightly so!

So if you are considering teeth whitening, there are several techniques are available. Here are the need-to-know facts and expert information on the options available to you:

Types of Teeth Whitening Products:

There are basically 3 ways to whiten your teeth.

  1. Over-the-Counter Teeth Whiteners
  2. Custom Fit Dental Tray
  3. Boost Whitening System

Over-the-Counter Teeth Whiteners work?

PRO – Teeth whitening products like Crest White Strips are essentially gel strips. These strips use a dilute hydrogen peroxide gel and they work well for those who are in the age range between 14 to 30 years. The gel strips are usually applied to teeth once a day for specific length of time. For full effect, most strips are worn for 10 to 20 days, depending on the strength of the product. An important factor to keep in mind with gel strips –  you must have straight teeth so the strips can maintain intimate contact with your tooth enamel.

CON – The whitening achieved with this method doesn’t last too long, but it is an inexpensive option.

You may have noticed many new products for whitening like rinses and toothpastes. These products do contain whitening agents and they’re easy to use.

CON – Since the whitening agent is in contact with your teeth for a short time, the whitening effect (if any) happens gradually. These are the least effective products on the market. A final note on at-home products, the government doesn’t regulate teeth-whiteners and consequently many of the whitening claims truly are simply ‘too good to be true’ and the products themselves are ineffective for whitening your teeth.

Dentist Teeth Whitening Trays

PRO – These easy to use plastic trays are filled with whitening gel and fit over teeth like a tooth guard. In these trays you place a concentrated 16-22% carbamide peroxide gel which whitens your teeth by oxygenating the stains from the inside out. These trays are made to custom fit your teeth, making them comfortable to wear, and allows the whitening gel to have intimate contact with your tooth enamel.

Once the trays are made to fit your teeth, they can be used over and over again.  If you ever lose a tray, make sure to keep the original molds to have new trays made.

CONIt does cost a bit more up front, but last much longer than any other method of teeth whitening.

Boost System Teeth Whitening

PRO – This innovative system gives your whitening a power shot.  It gives your smile a brilliant boost!  This procedure is done strictly in the dental office because it is illegal to supply a patient with this highly concentrated 40% carbamide peroxide gel for tooth whitening application.  In our Wekiva Dental office, we also provide our Boost patients with the take home trays to maximize their tooth whitening potential.

CON – Cost due to the fact that it must be applied by a dentist.

Teeth Whitening Products – Is they right for everyone?

Common sense tells us that the following categories of  people should not use teeth whitening products:

  • pre-teen children should not have whitening done due to the fact that most are in a mixed dentition phase (baby + adult teeth simultaneously).  Custom fitted trays would need to be remade every few months as they grow and lose teeth.
  • Women who are pregnant should probably not whiten during their gestation either.  Would the whitening gels hurt the fetus?  Probably not, but nobody will test ladies with child to prove that fact!  Just wait until after that special day.  When mom is back on her feet, she can reward herself with a glistening smile!

Which Method of Teeth Whitening Is Right for You?

“All above methods can achieve the same results, just at differing speeds.  The latter two tend to hold the whitening longer,” says Dr. Mark Offenback, DDS. Keep in mind, he adds ‘touch-ups should be done once every 12-18 months’ to maintain your brightest smile.

Ready to bring a bright sparkle to your smile? Contact us for a consultation appointment today  or call 407-869-7333 because Smiles Are Our Passion!