Thursday, April 16, 2015

Teeth whitening: At home or at the dental clinic?

June 29, 2013 by  
Filed under Articles

There are two choices when it comes to choose a whitening treatment: an OTC treatment or a professional one provided exclusively to the dentist. Which one is best for you? It all depends on your needs and budget.  In fact in any treatment to whiten your teeth it is the concentration of the bleaching agents that will make the difference in the results you’ll achieve.  Tooth whitening kits sold OTC are usually less powerful than those sold by the dentist. The teeth whitening products found at the dental clinic contain more active agents and require monitoring to be used safely and bring the best results.

In most whitening treatments available stores and pharmacies, hydrogen peroxide is the bleaching agent used to whiten the teeth. This peroxide is incorporated into a whitening gel to be poured into gutters that are then applied against the teeth for a certain period of time. Adhesive strips are another option.  It is the concentration of hydrogen peroxide that will determine the speed of the results as well as the duration of the treatment. The treatments sold OTC generally contain a maximum of 10% hydrogen peroxide. In the formulas used by professionals providing teeth whitening treatments, the concentration of hydrogen peroxide can be up to 43%.  It explains why some treatments at the dentist give such exceptional results over the shortest period of time.  However this type of whitening treatments must be monitored by a professional, because hydrogen peroxide can irritate the gums and should be applied with great care. That’s why such teeth whitening kits require the supervision of a dentist and are therefore not available OTC.

At the dentist, a technician will take an imprint of your teeth to create a mold that will perfectly fit your mouth. When you apply the whitening gel, the product will be in full contact with each tooth. There will be less gel overflowing in between the teeth or over the gums so the irritation will be minimized.  The teeth whitening kits available in pharmacies and stores generally include a mold that you can shape with hot water and apply over your teeth as best you can.  The result will never be as accurate as a mold made at the dentist. With a perfectly fitting mold the possibility of overflowing bleach is reduced as well as the risk of injuries.

Supervision of the teeth whitening process by a competent dentist ensures that your mouth is safe. The concentrated hydrogen peroxide gel can damage the gums. The dentist will be able to determine whether or not the treatment is appropriate or if it triggers allergies.  Although the professional treatment continues at home, frequent follow-up visits will guarantee that everything goes well.

Teeth whitening treatment by a professional is more expensive, but in general it brings better results that last longer.  The dentist may recommend maintenance treatments once or twice a year to be done at home but with professional products.  Beautiful teeth must be taken care of so you’ll occasional touch ups, mostly if you enjoy red wine, tea and coffee.  Combined with the whitening treatment, the use of whitening toothpaste and mouthwash will be enough to maintain your movie star’s smile!

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