As a dentist we are frequently asked questions about teeth whitening. Here is what you need to know:
Are there fundamental and important differences between getting your teeth whitening done at the local dentist office versus using an over the counter solution?
In the simplest of terms, the answer is yes there are very clear differences. The differences start with the very decision-making process that leads you to choose a product and use it. It continues in both the type of product being used and the personalized customization that we, as your dentist, can provide.
Is there a difference in the rapidness with which teeth can be whitened, when choosing between a dentist solution and an over the counter solution? What are they?
An over the counter solution is an excellent way to whiten your teeth, but there are distinct advantages to having a dentist oversee the teeth whitening process. For example –
We have access to a much more potent gel solution that can whiten your teeth faster and more effectively. This is because in a store-bought product there is a limit to the amount of hydrogen peroxide, or similar chemical, that the manufacturer can put into the product. The typical whitening gel that you would purchase at a grocery store has between 10% and 22% carbamide peroxide in the solution. This is the equivalent of about 3% hydrogen peroxide, which is the whitening agent in the solution. On the other hand, our dentist office has access to gel solutions that have between 15% and 43% hydrogen peroxide which can be applied under our supervision. This targets the stains faster and gives you a white smile more quickly.
Additionally during your consultation, we can determine what caused the stains and specifically what kind of stains they are. This allows us to design a custom solution that will target that particular type of staining and hence lead to a personalized and more effective solution.
Are there other custom solutions that can provide a better experience?
Once you have decided to whiten your teeth and we have come up with a specific plan, we will take a mold of your teeth. This mold will be used to create a custom tray designed to fit specifically over your teeth. What this does for you is it causes the whitening gel to remain in contact with your teeth and not leak and cause irritation to the gums or soft tissue. The mouth tray will also be far more comfortable, given that it was designed for you specifically.
A store bought solution is in no way customized to fit your mouth. The generic trays are a one size fits all solution that may, or may not, be the perfect fit. If the tray is not a perfect fit, you have the risk of the solution leaking onto your gums and soft tissue which can cause irritation. Higher end solutions tend to minimize this risk.
As a dentist, we recommend that when you have your teeth whitened, you use a professional solution that has been proven to produce better results with less risk to your gums. Our solutions are affordable, reliable, and produce stunning results.
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