There are many over-the-counter teeth whitening products available to you. But, you may not get the results you are looking for when you use store-bought whitening products. Dr. Ryne Johnson, prosthodontist and director of Newton Wellesley Dental Partners, has been performing teeth lightening procedures for his patients since 1986 and has lectured nationally on the topic.
All promise a dazzling smile and whiter teeth, and some of them work well. However, when you opt for over-the-counter teeth whitening products, you don’t get your dentist’s education, training, and experience. And you actually need this before you whiten your teeth. You’ll save money when you choose over-the-counter tooth-whitening products instead of in-office teeth whitening, but, often, you get what you pay for. Think... Tylenol vs a stronger, prescription pain killer.
Even if you want to try to whiten your teeth at home, American Dental Association experts recommend that you see your dentist first. This is because you want to rule out dental problems such as periodontal (gum) disease and cavities before you use store bought teeth whiteners. Whitening your teeth can aggravate those problems.
Also, previous teeth restorations like crowns and fillings won’t whiten along with their natural teeth. Tooth whiteners do not work as well on antibiotic-stained teeth either. And they do not correct all discoloration. Yellow and brown teeth respond better to bleaching than gray teeth.
Another advantage of scheduling a visit with your dentist before you whiten your teeth is that the dentist can explain all your options and educate you on the advantages and disadvantages of each method. There are basically, three approaches: over the counter, high-intensity prescriptions and in-office options. If you choose to whiten your teeth by yourself, your dentist can recommend the best product for you. They can also explain what they can do for you. Over-the-counter products are not custom-fit for your mouth. In-office teeth whitening uses custom trays that fit perfectly in your mouth; and you can use them at home. In-office teeth whitening also uses stronger bleaching agents than you would get from a store bought product.
For more information on teeth whitening, contact Newton Wellesley Dental Partners.