During routine dental visits, many patients ask us about the difference between over-the-counter teeth whitening strips and in-office teeth whitening. Often, these patients have tried a variety of over-the-counter methods without experiencing the results they were hoping to achieve. In this article, we will discuss a few reasons why over-the-counter options are not very effective, as well as how you can get top-notch teeth whitening that lasts.
Over-the-Counter Teeth Whitening
First of all, whitening strips are typically inconsistent because they do not provide a customized fit. Applying them so that they cover the teeth completely can be difficult due to the unique shape of the individual’s teeth and the curve of the mouth. Since they only cover the front smiling teeth, whitening is limited to only that area. Whitening strips also do not provide the best result because the concentration of the bleaching gel is low while the pH is acidic (to prolong shelf life). This combination is not very effective for teeth whitening and is harmful to the enamel.
Whitening toothpaste is another over-the-counter option that delivers less than optimal whitening results. Whitening toothpastes do not actually whiten the teeth, but they contain an abrasive that buffs away the tooth’s enamel. This clears away stains to make the teeth appear brighter; however, over time, this consistent erosion can cause the teeth to darken (due to the thin enamel), increase temperature sensitivity, and even make the teeth more susceptible to staining.
A Better Alternative
Dr. Fiss offers several more effective methods for teeth whitening, which include custom-fit bleaching trays, Zoom!® in-office teeth whitening, and porcelain veneers.
Take-Home, Custom-Fit Bleaching Trays
The bleaching trays we offer are customized to fit your teeth and provide the most comfortable and even application to your entire mouth. The gel that accompanies the trays consists of a 16 to 22 percent pH neutral bleaching solution that will safely and effectively whiten your teeth. Patients are fitted for the trays, a mold is made, and the patient takes the entire kit home with them. The trays are only worn for one hour for 7 to 14 consecutive days. Once the desired result is achieved, the trays can be reused after dental cleanings to touch up or brighten the smile as needed.
Zoom!® In-Office Teeth Whitening
Zoom!® in-office teeth whitening is the best option for those who want instant results. In just one treatment session with Dr. Fiss, patients can brighten their smile up to eight shades whiter. The entire process takes just under two hours, depending on the level of whitening that is desired. Patients that have their teeth cleaned prior to whitening usually experience the best results. They should keep in mind that once they stop bleaching, the teeth will typically fade one shade.
For the most permanent and long-lasting option for teeth whitening, Dr. Fiss also offers porcelain veneers. The thin, porcelain veneers are customized to fit your teeth to disguise any staining or discoloration. Veneers can also correct gaps, chips, and crooked teeth, making them the ultimate option for a complete smile makeover.
Maintaining Your White Smile
To maintain long-term whitening results, it is imperative to take proper care of your teeth. Visit your dentist at least two times per year for regular cleanings and checkups. Floss between your teeth every day and brush your teeth in the morning, after meals, and before bed using an extra soft toothbrush and non-abrasive, non-whitening toothpaste to preserve your enamel thickness and color. Avoiding staining foods like coffee, tea, red wine, etc., also will help keep your teeth looking their brightest.
If you are interested in teeth whitening in the Chicago area, please call Dr. Benjamin Fiss at (312) 951-5230 today to schedule a consultation. For your convenience, you may also fill out our quick contact form.Read More