Teeth whitening products have become all the rage over the past several years. That’s obvious when you look at the products lining the shelves at almost any grocery store or local pharmacy. Many of these products are remarkably inexpensive. But before you purchase any of these over-the-counter whitening systems, remember one very important rule of thumb: You get what you pay for!

Although it’s true that a few of the OTC whitening products are somewhat effective, the whitening systems at your local grocery store can’t compete with the effectiveness of professional teeth whitening services provided by your dentist. There are several reasons for this.

  • Custom-made whitening trays: Your dentist will create whitening trays that are specifically designed for your teeth. That means that the whitening solution will reach all of your tooth surface. Unlike the one-size-fits-all whitening trays provided with OTC products, or strips that cover only your front teeth, custom-made trays allow the whitening agent to cover every tooth surface inside your mouth. So all your teeth are whitened – not just a few.
  • Stronger whitening agent: Your dentist will provide a whitening solution that is stronger than those provided in OTC products. This is typically true no matter what brand of whitening product is provided by your dentist. The stronger the solution, the whiter your teeth will become in a shorter period of time.
  • Do-it-yourself alternatives: Professional whitening products are usually offered in two varieties – those that are completed in the dentist’s office, and those you can take home and do yourself at any time you’d like. Most patients opt for starting the process with an in-office treatment for especially impressive results in a short period of time, then choose to take home their custom trays and extra solution to whiten their smiles periodically at home whenever they choose to do so.

While it’s true that OTC whitening products are less expensive, they are also much less effective than professional whitening. You may end up spending a bit more for whitening products purchased from your dentist, but most patients find that the end result is worth every penny! Before you invest in any teeth whitening product, be sure to talk to your dentist. Generally speaking, whitening agents don’t work on dental restorations, and they’re not always recommended for people with very sensitive teeth, so they may not be right for everyone. Your dentist can provide you with more information and help you decide what would work best for you.

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