Is getting your teeth whitened at the dentist worth it?

Many over-the-counter whitening products aren't as effective because their chemistry is too weak and they can't whiten your teeth for long enough, or because they're too strong and dangerous to use and ingest.

Professional teeth whiteners

are safe, effective, and performed under the supervision of a dental professional. In most cases, it's worth the extra cost of visiting the dentist for safe, long-lasting results. As a general rule, all DIY projects carry some type of risk, whether it's a health risk or a durability issue.

Building a chair is more dangerous than buying one; cooking over an open fire is more complicated than ordering takeout; and, logically, whitening your teeth at home isn't as safe as doing it professionally. If your teeth aren't heavily stained, you can leave the dentist within an hour with a bright white smile. Dental professionals also usually create a mold in your mouth to give you a personalized whitening tray after the procedure is finished. Nicotine stains, for example, can take up to three months to bleach regardless of the percentage of peroxide.

Whitening toothpaste, whitening strips, a whitening gel that you can paint on your teeth with a cotton swab or use in a mouth tray, a daily two-step cleaning and whitening system, and more. Any whitening system that comes with a laser can simply increase the cost of the procedure without adding any real benefit. While three visits to the dentist are frequent over a period of four to six weeks, the results won't last forever, but a dentist can teach you more about your teeth by performing the procedure first and prescribing a solution with a percentage of peroxide that is specifically tailored to your teeth. Before any actual whitening begins, your dental professional will clean your teeth and gums of plaque and tartar, and fill any cavities that need care.

The final cost will depend on the number of whitening sessions you have and the type of equipment the dentist uses to perform them. The results were identical after two weeks, despite an initial increase in tooth whiteness hours after the procedure, simply caused by temporary tooth dehydration. If you want your smile to have that “pearly white effect,” you may want to sink your teeth into these teeth whitening products. If you spend a little time searching the Web, you'll find lots of ideas about natural methods of teeth whitening.

In my office, patients can choose to receive in-office treatment, which uses a combination of whitening gel and high-intensity light to break up and remove stains and discoloration from the tooth surface. The researchers found that the white strips appeared to break down collagen proteins in the inner layers of the teeth. Whitening done in the dentist's office is much more controlled, easier to use and produces better results. Over-the-counter products, such as Crest Whitestrips, work well, but are cumbersome to use and usually only whiten the 6 front teeth, so if the back teeth are clogged, it's a good alternative.

Jocelyn Pellegrini
Jocelyn Pellegrini

Infuriatingly humble travel advocate. Typical web advocate. Unapologetic sushi lover. Lifelong pop culture fanatic. Award-winning pop culture nerd. Avid reader.