The Pitfalls of Over-the-Counter Teeth Whitening Methods

Tooth stains are unsightly. No matter how much you brush and floss, it may feel like some of that discoloration just won’t go away. And, after all, who doesn’t want whiter teeth? Celebrities flash their pearly whites at every opportunity. But here’s a big secret: The stars aren’t getting those white smiles by using over-the-counter teeth whitening products. More often than not, celebs rely on one of two cosmetic dentistry treatments: porcelain veneers or professional teeth whitening treatments.

5 Reasons to Avoid Over-the-Counter Whiteners

In general, there is nothing wrong with over-the-counter teeth whitening treatments. They do get the job done, though it may not be as effective as you might like, or as you probably envisioned.

Problems arise when the products are used improperly, or when they don’t pan out as promised. Here are five of the biggest reasons you should tread carefully with any solution that comes in a box for 25 bucks:

  1. The results could be uneven. While the application of whitening strips, for example, are fairly easy, they are a one-size-fits-all solution. Some of your teeth may get a little more love than others, or the whitening treatment won’t “take” on one bit of enamel. The result: a spotty-looking smile that isn’t completely white and looks kind of like a mistake.
  2. You might become addicted. If you are super-satisfied with the results of your whitening efforts, you may become so enthralled with the DIY solution that you will use it – way too often. This behavior won’t give you whiter and whiter teeth. Your overzealousness could actually damage your enamel and eventually create an undesired translucency in your teeth.
  3. You could irritate your gums. Most OTC whitening treatments don’t come with any sort of desensitizing gel to spread over your gums before proceeding with treatment. You won’t know until you try it just how your teeth will react – and sometimes, the result may not feel very good at all.
  4. Nothing will happen. When you spend hard-earned money on a whitening solution that “promises” to whiten your smile and absolutely nothing about your teeth changes, that can be a hard pill to swallow. But it’s been known to happen, especially if your tooth stains are deep within your teeth and not on the surface.
  5. The results will not last. OTC treatments are powerful, but not powerful enough to last for any extensive length of time. You’ll be disappointed when you discover just how quickly your teeth lose their sparkle. 

Why Your Cosmetic Dentist Is the Top Teeth Whitening Resource

Professional teeth whitening treatments from your Plymouth, Michigan, cosmetic dentist will avoid all of the problems above. Before proceeding with any whitening treatments, your cosmetic dentist will examine your teeth carefully to determine whether or not the procedure will work. Some people have porcelain crowns, or other restorative dentistry treatments, that could impact whether or not the whitening solution will be effective on certain teeth. When this is the case, whitening efforts can be adjusted to take into consideration all teeth that can feasibly be whitened.

That being said, your dentist will also recognize whether a whitening treatment will work for you at all. If OTC at-home efforts didn’t make a change in the appearance of your teeth, it may not be user error – you simply might have teeth that won’t respond to any kind of whitening. In situations like this, other cosmetic dentistry treatments will be recommended to repair your smile and eliminate stains (namely, porcelain veneers).

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The Professional Teeth Whitening Difference

Why won’t whitening work? If your tooth stains are intrinsic – meaning they are under the surface of the teeth – then your smile makeover will have to happen using veneers or another cosmetic dentistry treatment that hides the stains rather than blasts them away. Because that is what professional teeth whitening does do – break apart the stains that have found their way into your enamel. Only a dentist has powerful enough bleaching agents to get the job done right, and so that it will last for a long time.

Since the bleaching materials are incredibly strong, it’s important to protect the gums, lips, and rest of the mouth during teeth whitening. These precautions will happen when you visit your dentist for an in-office teeth whitening.

Most of all, when you turn to an expert for teeth whitening help, you’ll get a solution one way or the other. It may not be teeth whitening, but it will be a repair that improves the appearance of your teeth and your oral health. Discover the options that are available for your smile. Contact Dr. Shadi Krecht in Plymouth, Michigan, to make your consultation appointment.