Teeth whitening is a very popular treatment. And, many people choose over-the-counter (OTC), at-home whitening treatments instead of visiting the dentist. Patients often don’t know about professional treatments offered or are trying to be cost-effective. 

However, before you choose OTC treatment, read about these five things to know with OTC teeth whitening options. Additionally, be sure to keep your teeth white with good oral hygiene and regular dental visits.

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1. Beware of Tooth Erosion

When you whiten your teeth with products without consulting your dentist, you may be using products that are harmful to your teeth. For example, many OTC products contain a high amount of peroxide or bleach. If you have sensitive teeth, these products can erode your tooth enamel. Revealing tooth enamel can cause pain and may even lead to cavities. Therefore, without careful consideration, you may have to visit the dentist for more than routine cleanings.

2. Effectiveness of Over-the-Counter Whitening

The whitening solutions that aren’t too strong could be too weak. When you visit a dentist for teeth whitening, they can curate a solution to specifically fit your smile. Using the newest technology and the best treatment, they will be able to whiten your teeth effectively and without damage. Unfortunately, store-bought treatments don’t offer the same precision.

With tooth whitening, the old saying really does ring true–you get what you pay for. That means, if you skimp on whitening strips from your local pharmacy, the whitening won’t be as bright or as lasting. Yes, your teeth will get whiter. But the level of whiteness will not have the same striking effect as they will if you get them done by a professional. For example, at-home OTC teeth whitening usually brightens your teeth 1-4 shades while your dentist can brighten your teeth 6-8 shades.

3. Whitening Toothpaste Doesn’t Work As Planned

Talking about not whitening your teeth as much as planned, whitening toothpaste just doesn’t seem to cut it. Though whitening toothpaste can slightly brighten your smile, it doesn’t help as much as you thought it would. To get better results, you’ll have to visit your dentist for more promising options.

4. Watch for the Nooks and Crannies! 

Additionally, those small crevices won’t have much luck with OTC treatments. When you use gels and strips, you may be able to effectively whiten the fronts of your teeth for short-term treatments. However, when you use these products, you neglect those nooks and crannies!

Results from treatments last for several months but those small crevices will remain discolored. Gels and strips also rely on your mouth being dry so the substance can stick to your teeth. This can be very difficult is you don’t have the proper tools.

5. Over-the-Counter Whitening Isn’t for Everyone

Some people just aren’t a fit for teeth whitening. If you’re under 16, we recommend waiting until your dentist gives you the ok. Furthermore, people with sensitive teeth or receding gums might find teeth whitening extremely painful. Another thing to consider is the condition of your smile. If you have visible crowns, caps, or fillings, they will not whiten. Remember that they will stay the same color as your teeth were when you got them!

Additionally, tooth whitening cannot remove all staining. For these cases, you may need porcelain veneers to brighten up your smile. 

Whatever the case, we want to help. Here at Country Club Dentistry, we care about both the functionality of your smile and how it makes you feel. If you want to brighten up your pearly whites, schedule an appointment with Dr. Strober. Call our office at (760) 832-7915 or schedule an appointment online today.