As cosmetic dentistry becomes both more common and more widely accepted, teeth whitening is perhaps the fastest-growing procedure in dentistry. There are a number of obvious reasons why: teeth whitening is a non-invasive, low-intensity procedure which when performed correctly can do a great deal to improve a patient’s appearance and self-confidence. Teeth whitening is generally affordable and can be accomplished with minimal discomfort to the patient. So with all that having been said, for most patients interested in teeth whitening only one choice remains: whether to seek professional treatment or to use an over-the-counter whitening kit. There are pros and cons to both, so let’s take a look and see which tooth whitening option might be best for you.
Over-The-Counter Whitening Kits
Over-the-counter whitening kits are widely available in most supermarkets and drugstores. As with all over-the-counter treatments, they have their pros and cons, which include the following:
Pros Of Over-The-Counter Whitening Kits
- Convenience. Over-the-counter teeth whitening is about as convenient as it could be. Teeth whitening kits are widely available, easy to use, and safe if the instructions are followed. For busy folks who just want to touch up their smile, this can be a godsend.
- Choices, choices. There are a wide variety of over-the-counter teeth whitening kits available, so you can choose the one that’s best for you. Likewise, there are a number of other tooth whitening products available, such as toothpaste and mouthwashes. It’s easy to tailor your choices to your own needs and your own budget.
- Treatment at your own pace. Unlike in-office treatments, you can use your over-the-counter teeth whitening treatment at your own pace and in your own time. With today’s busy schedules, this is another great convenience they offer.
Cons Of Over-The-Counter Whitening Kits
- They’re less effective than professional whitening treatments. This is due in part to safety concerns: your dentist is trained to handle stronger and more effective treatments, while over-the-counter at-home treatments have to err to the side of caution in case the user makes a mistake. Such mistakes with professional-grade treatments could result in permanent damage to the teeth or gums.
- They take more time than professional treatments. This may sound ironic, given that one of the advantages of at-home treatments is the ability to set your own schedule. However, professional treatments work faster due to their increased strength and deliver better results in less time.
- They can be messy depending on the kind of over-the-counter whitening treatment selected. While this is at worst inconvenient, it’s yet another advantage that professional treatments have: someone else cleans up for you!
Professional Teeth Whitening
Professional whitening treatments are conducted in your dentist’s office. There are a variety of treatments available, and your dentist will suggest the right one for you. As with at-home over-the-counter whitening kits, there are several pros and cons to consider.
Pros of Professional Teeth Whitening
- Professional treatments are highly effective, especially when compared to over-the-counter kits. Your teeth will emerge from a professional treatment whiter and brighter than they will with any over-the-counter treatment. The results from a professional treatment can last for years, unlike over-the-counter treatments which need to be addressed more often.
- Results are more consistent with professional treatments. Over-the-counter treatments are prone to user error, and the results can reflect that via uneven whitening or splotchy outcomes. Professional treatments give a uniform shine to your teeth.
- Professional treatments are faster and safer than over-the-counter treatments. Faster, in that professional whitening treatments can generally be completed with one visit to the dentist and can deliver results that will last for years. Safer, in that while professional treatments use stronger chemicals and more rigorous procedures they are performed by a trained professional with patient safety foremost in their mind.
The only real downside to professional treatments can be increased costs, but that greatly depends on your dentist, your insurance, and how you want to look at it. Would you rather pay for one highly effective treatment with enduring results, or have to continue to spend time and money on messy at-home treatments every month or so? For most people, it’s generally much more convenient and cost effective to just let a professional handle their teeth whitening.
At Hampstead Dental, we’re proud to offer professional teeth whitening treatments as part of our array of cosmetic dental services. So if your smile needs a touch-up, reach out today and make an appointment. You’ll be glad that you did!