We all want that million-dollar smile and it’s no surprise that a great smile starts with beautiful teeth. Fortunately, there are various teeth whitening products to give you that smile you long for.
Two of the most common teeth whitening methods are teeth whitening strips and having your teeth professionally whitened. What are the main differences between the two and is one better than the other?
Professional Whitening Vs. Teeth Whitening Strips
It’s a common misconception that teeth whitening strips provide the same level of whitening as visiting a dentist to have your teeth professionally whitened, at a lower price point. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case, and this is because of how each of the teeth whitening methods works and the ingredients they use.
What to Expect When Getting Your Teeth Professionally Whitened In-Office
Teeth whitening in-office is the ultimate smile transformation. When you visit your dentist to have your teeth professionally whitened you can expect to achieve the smile of your dreams.
Your dentist can help you achieve such white teeth because they have access to much stronger whitening ingredients than you would find in teeth whitening strips. In addition to stronger ingredients, your dentist will create a tray that is custom fit to your mouth. This will ensure that the bleach is evenly distributed across your teeth, which will give you an even whitening.
In addition to stronger ingredients and a custom tray, you also benefit from having the whitening service done by a trained professional. While you are in the office, a dental professional will be with you from start to finish.
Your dentist will monitor the lasers on your teeth as they help the whitening gel dive deep beneath your enamel to reach your color pigments, which is something whitening strips cannot do. Additionally, they will be there to ensure the process goes smoothly and will usually have you in and out in under an hour. You can expect your teeth to be 8 shades whiter after just one visit!
What to Expect When Using Whitening Strips
Whitening strips are flexible rectangular plastic films coated in the whitening gel. The gel usually comprises hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. Whitening strips are available over the counter. The strips are typically worn for an average of 30 minutes daily, although the period can vary based on the brand. Overall, the teeth whitening process usually takes up to two weeks and you can expect your teeth to be 3-6 shades whiter.
In-Office Teeth Whitening Vs. Teeth Whitening Strips Cons
Now that we know that professional whitening is much more effective than whitening strips, we want to cover some of the cons of the two whitening methods.
In-Office Teeth Whitening
Because you are having your teeth whitened by a professional who knows exactly what to do, there are very few cons to having your teeth whitened in-office.
When compared to teeth whitening strips, the cost of having your teeth professionally whitened is a bit higher. However, it often takes multiple teeth whitening strip kits to achieve a fraction of the whiteness you can achieve in just one office visit.
Teeth Whitening Strips
Unfortunately, teeth whitening strips come with numerous negative side effects that you don’t have to worry about when having your teeth whitened by a professional.
Whitening Strips May Damage Your Enamel
As discussed earlier, teeth whitening strips are safe for many people when they follow instructions. However, the hydrogen peroxide in the gel can damage your tooth’s enamel when used in high concentrations or for an extended period. That said, most strips available over the counter should be safe as long as they are ADA-approved. Of course, you can always talk to your dentist for a second opinion when in doubt.
However, the problem arises when you use a whitening strip with chlorine dioxide. Chlorine dioxide is the same chemical used to disinfect swimming pools. Producers occasionally use it as an ingredient in the white strip to remove stains.
Sadly, chlorine dioxide removes the plaque and stains from your teeth by dissolving the enamel. Eliminating the enamel takes away the stains. Still, it is a dangerous and irreversible process; therefore, you should always ensure the whitening strips you use do not contain Chlorine dioxide.
It’s important to ensure you use teeth whitening strips moderately. Overusing the strips can result in tooth sensitivity and permanent enamel damage even when they don’t contain Chlorine dioxide.
The tooth enamel cannot grow back when eroded. Therefore, the nerves in your teeth will be vulnerable to temperature sensitivity. Moreover, you will risk developing tooth decay and more extreme issues. So, you should ensure your teeth are healthy and follow the instructions when using whitening strips.
Whitening Strips May Cause Gum Damage
Although teeth sensitivity and permanent enamel erosion are the major risks associated with whitening gels, gum sensitivity is also possible. This might result from the gel spilling on your gums and damaging the soft tissues of your gums.
So, you should always avoid contact between your gums and the whitening strips as much as possible. But we all know that this is easier said than done since the strips are cut straight across without your gum’s sculpting in mind. You can try cutting the strips to match your smile for more precise placement or consider the dentist-made trays that follow your gum’s contours.
Whitening Strips May Result in Uneven Teeth Whitening
Despite the precision you use when applying the whitening strips, you can’t cover every surface of your teeth. Because of its rectangular shape, there will always be crevasses and cracks that the strip can’t reach. Although you’ll whiten the areas with precision, the untouched surfaces will retain their color as other surfaces get whiter. Therefore, the unsightly yellow spots on your teeth will be easily noticeable.
To avoid uneven whitening, ask your dentist for the whitening trays. The trays are shaped to cover every tooth surface, ensuring the gel reaches the nooks and crannies of your teeth, producing better results. Moreover, the trays prevent the saliva from washing the gel away.
Schedule Your In-Office Teeth Whitening Today
While it can seem enticing to save some money and whiten your teeth at home, there is nothing more effective and safer than having your teeth professionally whitened.
At Summit Family & Cosmetic Dentistry, we offer restorative, sedation, cosmetic, and family dentistry services to patients in the Spokane area. Our team ensures exceptional care for long-term and effective results giving you that million-dollar smile.
If you are looking for more information on whiter teeth, contact us and schedule your appointment today! We’ll help make the smile of your dreams a reality!