Teeth Whitening: Over-the-counter vs. In-office

If you’re looking to get a brighter smile, there are many teeth whitening options available, ranging from whitening strips you can purchase at the pharmacy to in-office laser treatments. While the type of whitening method you choose will depend on your particular needs, it’s almost always safer and more effective to have the procedure done under a dentist’s supervision. Before purchasing an over-the-counter whitener, make sure you understand how the teeth whitening process works and why you should consult a dental professional.

Types of Whitening Treatments

There are two basic types of teeth-whitening products available: surface whiteners and bleaches.

Surface whiteners get rid of stains found on the outside of your teeth and are primarily found in toothpastes and chewing gums that claim to whiten your teeth. Although they’re unlikely to damage your teeth, they also don’t usually lead to significant results.

Bleaches are peroxide-based and capable of changing the overall tooth colour. They’ve been shown to be a safe, effective, and longer-lasting way to whiten your teeth. During teeth whitening treatments, your dentist applies a special bleaching gel to your stained teeth while taking steps to protect your gums from coming into contact with the bleach. The procedure is usually relatively painless, especially in clinics like Dr. Wilczek’s in Prince George where we use bleach containing a tooth desensitizer.

Over-the-counter Products: Are They Worth the Low Cost?
If you decide to try a whitening treatment designed for at-home use, proceed with caution. Whitening products that are sold over-the-counter generally contain lower concentrations of hydrogen peroxide than the gels used by dentists and are therefore less effective. At the same time, the application of these products is not supervised, and some people end up overusing these products in the hope of getting better results. There’s a risk of irritating your gums and damaging your teeth’s enamel when you apply whiteners on your own or too frequently.

If you do buy an over-the-counter whitener, be wary of products that claim immediate results and look for whiteners put out by trusted toothpaste brands. It’s best to consult with your dentist before trying any type of drugstore whitening product.

Dr. Richard Wilczek: Teeth Whitening in Prince George
If you live in the Prince George area and are interested in having your teeth whitened, get in touch with the office of Dr. Richard Wilczek. Our dentists offer professional teeth whitening services guaranteed to lead to quality results. To schedule a consultation, contact us today.