Professional vs. OTC Teeth Whitening

By Rafael Mercado, DDS on February 06, 2019

Bright, white teeth are associated with good oral health and a beautiful smile. However, many patients have stains or overall discoloration. Fortunately, these problems can be effectively treated with teeth whitening.

Patients can undergo professional teeth whitening treatment, which is considered safe and offers noticeable results. There are also many over-the-counter whitening treatment alternatives. These store-bought products offer a cheaper alternative to professional whitening, but they can have uneven and inadequate results.

At Castle Hills Family Dental, Dr. Rafael Mercado will discuss professional vs. OTC teeth whitening with you. He can determine which choice is best for you. If you have questions about the effectiveness of these teeth whitening options, contact our Castle Hills, TX dental office.

Concentration of Hydrogen Peroxide

While professional and over-the-counter teeth whitening treatment both employ the use of cosmetic bleaching agents to whiten teeth, they do not offer the same results.

That’s because most commercial whitening strips and gels are limited to a small percentage (usually 3 percent) of hydrogen peroxide, the whitening agent most commonly used.

Our in-office treatments administer a gel that is more than 35 percent hydrogen peroxide. These higher concentrations of the whitening agent produce more dramatic results in a shorter amount time.

Even Distribution of Whitening Product

Unlike store-bought kits, the whitening treatments at our practice produce better results because the gel is administered evenly over all your teeth.

If you undergo our in-office treatment, Dr. Mercado will carefully apply the whitening solution to your teeth, being sure to apply it to all surfaces.

Patients that undergo our at-home whitening treatment will receive a custom mouth tray and instructions for applying the whitening solution.

Gum Protection

It is important to limit contact between the soft tissues of the mouth and the whitening solution. When the whitening solution is applied by a dentist, custom mouth trays are used, and instructions are followed, damage to the gums is unlikely to occur.

Cost and Convenience

Two important factors that guide patients in choosing between professional and OTC teeth whitening are cost and convenience.

Upfront, it appears that OTC whitening products are cheaper. However, they are less effective. Patients may not achieve the results they desire, and continued treatment is needed to achieve or maintain results.

Patients also find it convenient to purchase teeth whitening products at the store or online. We try to make teeth whitening as easy as possible for patients. Simply schedule an appointment at our practice, and we will determine if you are better suited to our in-office or at-home professional whitening system.

In-office or At-home Professional Whitening

Dr. Mercado uses the Pola advanced tooth whitening system to assess and brighten your teeth. During your initial consultation, we will measure the color of your teeth using the Pola shade guide in order to determine the extent of your teeth whitening needs.

Based on that assessment and your personal goals, we will schedule one or more in-office treatments or you will be given a take-home whitening kit.

If you choose to undergo in-office treatments, Dr. Mercado will apply a safe but highly concentrated gel evenly over your teeth. The gel is pH-neutral to ensure that your teeth and gums are protected. Additional barriers will also be placed to protect your gums. Most patients notice a whiter smile in just 30 minutes.

Based on your budget and schedule, take-home whitening may be preferable. In these cases, Dr. Mercado offers Poladay (for use in small increments throughout the day) and Polanight (for nighttime applications) treatment options. Both take-home kits come with custom whitening trays for a secure fit.

Schedule Your Teeth Whitening Treatment Today

To learn more about the dramatic results of professional teeth whitening, contact our office online or call (210) 405-1257.

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