In-Office vs. Over-the-counter Whitening

In-Office vs. Over-the-counter Whitening

Teeth WhiteningAre you satisfied with your smile? If you have healthy teeth with no structural problems, that's great! But what about the appearance of your teeth? If your teeth are discolored or stained due to aging, injury, antibiotics, heredity, smoking, or staining foods and beverages, there is an easy, affordable solution - teeth whitening. At your Grand Rapids dentist, Jonathan Eagle DDS, you can opt for the professional whitening that will leave your dulled smile gleaming again! But you've likely also seen products at your local drug store that claim to whiten teeth just as well. So what's the real difference between over-the-counter and professional whitening?

What are the pluses and minuses of over the counter whitening products?

There are many tooth whitening products are out on the market today. Quality gels, toothpastes, trays and rinses will carry a Seal of Approval from the American Dental Association (ADA). Usually, their active ingredient is hydrogen peroxide, and when used according to the manufacturer's directions, they can whiten teeth a few shades. These products may require use one or 2 times a day for several days, and results can last for some months. On the downside, over the counter products may cause gum and tooth sensitivity if not correctly applied. In general, they cost less than in-office whitening, but they are not as effective as products applied by dentists.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of in-office whitening?

It is best to have your dentist examine your teeth and gums to see if whitening is right for you. Dr. Eagle can tell if your tooth enamel is strong enough and gums healthy enough for whitening, and how well the procedure will work. The trays that are used to apply the peroxide-based whitening product are custom-fitted by the dentist, and results are usually quicker, brighter and longer-lasting than store-bought products. The dentist may do some of the whitening in the office with the patient finishing up at home. A follow-up visit checks on how well the product worked, and also looks for any problems such as tooth and gum sensitivity. Professional procedures can improve the color of tooth enamel dramatically, and the results last for several years, especially when the patient and dentist touch-up the work. These procedures cost somewhat more than over the counter whitening.

Regardless of whether whitening is done by a dentist or at home, some individuals should not whiten their teeth. These patients have:

  • periodontal (gum) disease
  • extensive decay
  • are pregnant
  • are children or adolescents
  • have many restorations such as crowns or bridgework
  • are allergic to the ingredients in the whitening applications
  • have sensitive teeth

Tooth Whitening in Grand Rapids, Michigan

Dr. Eagle offers many innovative dental services to improve your smile and keep it healthy, too. He can answer your questions about tooth whitening and other cosmetic dental procedures and evaluate what may be right for your teeth. Call his friendly staff today for an appointment: 616-361-9330.