Perhaps you’ve seen the ads featuring smiling, attractive men and women extolling the merits of over-the-counter teeth whitening products. The commercials make it look so easy! Who wouldn’t want to whiten their teeth while running errands, sitting in class, or driving home from work? Despite their obvious appeal, OTC whitening strips and bleaching kits aren’t always the best option. Does this mean they’re a waste of your time and money? Not necessarily, says Dr. Todd Pizzi. Dr. Pizzi, a Shrewsbury, MA cosmetic dentist, helps patients choose between over-the-counter and professional teeth whitening.
Advantages of Drugstore Whitening Kits and Strips
Foremost is the ease with which you can find and buy whitening strips and kits. You’ll find them at every drugstore, and even your local supermarket probably stocks one or two options. The cost is relatively affordable, especially compared to such cosmetic dental treatments as porcelain veneers or bonding. You can purchase a kit for around $50, which is usually enough for one two-week treatment. We’ve seen many people who had success with strips and bleaching formulas, particularly those whose teeth have only light staining.
Potential Disadvantages of Over-the-Counter Whitening
Not everyone has the same degree of success with OTC whitening, and there are drawbacks to consider. For example, a $50 price tag may seem like a bargain compared to the cost of professional treatment or veneers, it’s hardly a good deal if it doesn’t achieve the desired level of whitening. Remember, too, that results aren’t permanent; you’ll need to factor in the cost of each future kit as the whitening effect appears less noticeable. If your teeth have plaque built up on the surface, the underlying enamel will not be exposed to the bleaching formula. Unless the surface of your teeth are virtually spotless, there’s a risk that you will not see consistent results.
Dr. Pizzi also points out that strips which list chlorine dioxide have the potential to cause serious damage to your tooth enamel. Damaged tooth enamel is more easily stained, more vulnerable to decay, and more likely to develop sensitivity to heat and cold. Those who already have sensitive teeth or gums may find that OTC whitening formulas exacerbate the problem.
Want professionally whitened teeth? To learn more about our whitening treatments, or to schedule an appointment with one of our doctors, contact us at (508) 842-8838. We provide cosmetic, preventive, and restorative dental care to residents of Shrewsbury, North and South Grafton, Hopkinton, Milford, and the surrounding communities.