Everyone wants to flat out know do the over the counter tooth whitening products work. They are cheaper and often easier to get a hold of, so the question is will I endorse them??? Read to find out.
There so many whitening products these days I can’t write specifically about all of them. Before starting it is important to note that whitening products are designed to whiten a clean tooth. Stains from coffee, smoking, tea, soda, chocolate, wine, etc. should be removed prior to whitening. If these stains are not removed and you try whitening it can be equated to getting a car wash for a rusted out car.
The 5 main Contenders(In order of price) are discussed below. You can skip ahead to see myDr. Weisz approved recommendation or get the skinny on all 5 below.
1. In office tooth whitening
These are administered by your dentist, take about one and a half hours in the dental chair. A barrier is placed over your gums, some brands use a laser light some do not. High concentrations of whitening gel either hydrogen or carbamide peroxide are in intervals.
The Good: Quickest results. Sensitivity is condensed to a few days versus weeks if using at home products.
The Bad: High cost. Higher sensitivity for the next few days due to the higher concentrations.
2. Take Home Trays Made by the Dentist
An impression is made at the dentist office and within a couple of days whitening trays are made to the exact fit of your teeth. Professional concentrations of whitening gel with the same active ingredients as the in office whitening systems are dispensed.
The Good: Much more cost effective. Custom fit. Monitored by your dentist.
The Bad: Monitored by your dentist! Takes about 10 days.
3. Whitening Strips and drug store type whitening products
Obviously these products are not custom made, but they are easily available at most drug stores. Most people don’t realize that they use the same active ingredients as the in office whitening and custom trays, but at lower concentrations.
The Good: Cheap. Same active ingredients as more expensive solutions.
The Bad: If your teeth aren’t perfectly straight it can be a clumsy delivery system. No supervision if problems occur.
4. Tooth Whitening Pens
The jury is still out for me on these pens. I have a couple of patients trying these and will give it a try myself to report back in a future article. My initial thoughts not based on any evidence is that they are cute but can’t possible provide a level of active ingredient to achieve results comparable to the other proven methods. These gels are painted right on the teeth with no barrier or delivery system to block it from your cheeks and gums. I am just not sure how you can put a concentration strong enough to whiten teeth while not irritating the lips and cheek. I may be wrong and there is only one way to find out, test it out. So for right now inconclusive for lack of evidence.
5. Tooth Whitening Toothpastes
Many whitening toothpastes can help to remove surface stains. These stains from coffee, tea, soda can be one of the biggest culprits of having the appearance of less than white teeth. Using a whitening toothpaste with the ADA seal is the way to go. You may not realize a noticeable difference from these types of products but there is little downside to trying.
The Good: Easy to use, easy to get, inexpensive.
The Bad: Minimal if any noticeable results.
With all whitening products it is important to make sure they are sitting on a clean surface. I recommend my patients to right after their dental check up and hygiene visit to ensure that surface stains are off the teeth. There is no cookie cutter answer to which product is best because every individual has different needs. Smokers, coffee and wine drinkers may just benefit from an extra “cleaning” a year. Those with straight teeth or a limited budget may do very well with over the counter whitestrips.
My personal preference and recommendation is to get custom trays made. In my dentist office in Libertyville they are relatively inexpensive. You have someone you trust monitoring the process and you will get similar results with generally less sensitivity that the in office and “laser whitening” route. The major advantage to custom trays, that often gets overlooked is that once you make the initial investment in the trays, getting touch up whitening product is cheaper and more effective than even the crest white-strips or Rembrandt products.
Question: Have you ever whitened? What product would you recommend to a friend?