In-office vs. Home Teeth Whitening

Teeth Whitening

Whiter teeth give us confidence, so just about everyone is interested in products and remedies that can give us whiter teeth. We take an honest look at home tooth whitening as compared to the type of whitening that your local Vancouver dentist can do for you.

In-office teeth whitening by a dentist

It’s not only dentists who say that in-office teeth whitening is the most effective solution. Many patients visit the dentist’s office after having unsuccessfully tried home or over the counter remedies. Apart from a lack of results, they complain of messy, uncomfortable treatments, an unpleasant taste, and even a situation in which stains on the teeth appear more obvious than before.

Teeth Whitening

Over-the-counter remedies

There are several product formulations that can be used to whiten teeth. You can get tooth whitening strips, toothpastes, LED tooth whitening systems and boil and bite whitening trays. Dentists agree that strips are the most effective of these. Boil and bite trays often give blotchy results and these, and the LED systems require an uncomfortable 3-hour home treatment that can go wrong. Many dentists (such as your trusted Vancouver dentist) feel that home whitening systems using light are nothing more than a marketing trick that simply doesn’t work.

Strips can do a good job, but they are inclined to slip from the tooth surface and can only be used to whiten a few front teeth. In addition, when teeth are slightly askew, the strips do not make proper contact with the tooth surface and will not produce good results.

As for toothpastes and mouthwashes, these are the least effective solution since the concentration of whitening agents is very low for safety reasons, and the time that your teeth are exposed to them is necessarily short.

Most dentists agree that none of these methods will give you ‘instant’ white teeth, as it would be unsafe to include the concentrations of whiteners that dentists are qualified to apply in a commercial product. There’s also the issue of sensitivity. Some over the counter products – including toothpastes – can cause sensitivity of the teeth and gums.

‘Kitchen’ remedies

There are plenty of home tooth whitening remedies that you can make in your own kitchen, but with the exception of coconut oil, all of these will damage your tooth enamel. Coconut oil works for some people, and is gentle on teeth, but it takes a long time to work. Daily rinses will be needed for an extended period before even a slight difference can be seen – and as we’ve noted – it doesn’t work for everyone.

Watch out for unregulated products

If you decide to try whitening your teeth at home with over the counter remedies, be sure to get these from a reputable pharmacy. There are products available online, but many of these are unsafe, or simply scams that cost a lot and don’t work. Scam products will usually claim “instant” whitening properties. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably isn’t!

Overuse of home tooth whitening products can lead to problems of its own, but a dentist supervises your tooth whitening program to ensure that your teeth look good without risk of injury to teeth or gums.

A good cosmetic dentist really can give you whiter teeth instantly, and some will offer you home follow up products and customized moulds of your teeth that will help you to whiten your teeth without the drawbacks of ‘one size fits all’ over the counter products.

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