The Pros and Cons of Over-the-Counter Teeth-Whitening Products

There’s a lot to be said for teeth whitening, regardless of how you achieve it. Not only does it give you a brighter, whiter smile, but it also provides a boost to your confidence – something which many clients are motivated by when they visit us and ask for more information about our whitening treatments.

With both professional and over-the-counter solutions available, knowing which to opt for can be tough, with clients needing to compare everything from cost to the projected results in order to work out which is best for them. 

In this blog, we’re doing some of the hard work for you by comparing professional teeth whitening with a DIY approach, and assessing the pros and cons of over-the-counter products in your search for a brighter smile. 

What are over-the-counter teeth-whitening products?

Before we can really dig deep into the pros and cons of DIY and at-home teeth-whitening products, we first need to understand a little more about what they are and what they involve.

These products cover a few different segments of the market, encompassing natural remedies as well as whitening toothpastes and more targeted kits that promise whiter teeth through regular or prolonged use. Some of the methods available include strips that are laid over the teeth, and pastes that are applied to the teeth – and it’s here that we uncover the most significant difference between over-the-counter and professional whitening treatments.

What is the biggest difference between professional and DIY whitening?

When you book a professional teeth-whitening treatment, you will first notice that the process is conducted by a trained dentist. They will apply a whitening agent to your teeth, and will then use a laser to activate the ingredients in the paste, with a targeted beam of light that is shone directly onto the teeth for a predetermined amount of time. The ingredients in these pastes are incredibly potent and generate results which are not only highly effective, but which last for a long time.

DIY and over-the-counter methods of teeth whitening, on the other hand, are not performed by a trained dentist – nor do they involve the use of a laser to activate the ingredients. Instead, a highly diluted version of the product is administered at home by the buyer, which means that, even if a teeth-whitening product contains the same effective ingredients as a professional kit, the results are highly unlikely to be as effective or as long lasting. 

Thus, the biggest difference between professional and DIY whitening is the level of results that you will get, and the longevity of those results – though it’s important to note that neither solution has any effect on your underlying oral health. After all, whiter teeth don’t necessarily mean a healthier mouth. 

The pros of over-the-counter teeth-whitening products

Now that we know a little more about teeth whitening as an overarching process, and how DIY and over-the-counter treatments differ from the professional ones, it’s time to uncover some of the benefits of keeping your treatment plan at home. 

Perhaps the most obvious benefit of an over-the-counter approach to teeth whitening is the cost. Professional treatments are notoriously expensive, while over-the-counter solutions are much more affordable – meaning that you can afford a number of treatments at a much reduced price compared with a single round of professional whitening. This is popular with those who want to experiment with and explore a few different approaches to whitening, as the affordable cost allows them to test the market relatively easily. 

Another benefit is that, while over-the-counter whitening is not as potent or as reliable as professional whitening, when conducted safely it can prove effective to some degree. This means that, if you are simply looking to brighten your teeth by a shade or two, DIY solutions can work relatively well. 

Finally, over-the-counter whitening solutions can be conducted from the comfort of your own home – a notable benefit for those with a lack of time who want to brighten their smile but without booking appointments at their local dentist. 

The cons of over-the-counter teeth whitening

As is often the case, for every benefit there is also a drawback or consideration to take into account – and over-the-counter teeth whitening is no different. 

Up there at the top of our list is the simple fact that over-the-counter whitening solutions are neither as potent nor as effective as professional treatment plans. As at-home whitening kits and products contain highly diluted ingredients to ensure that they are safe for untrained buyers to use, the results are minimal, and buyers often find that they have to complete the whitening process many times in order to see any visible results. 

This means that, even while over-the-counter whitening solutions are cheaper, buyers should be aware that they are paying for treatments that will not necessarily work. 

What’s more, there are risks linked to some over-the-counter whitening products, as overuse can lead to discomfort and irritation of the gums, as well as sensitive teeth. 

As such, it is important that buyers and consumers are aware, prior to purchase, of both the risks of over-the-counter teeth-whitening solutions and the potential lack of results. 

The best approach to teeth whitening

If teeth whitening is something that you are serious about, then getting in touch with your local dentist will enable you to find out more about both the process and costs linked with professional whitening services. 

Combining potent and lasting results with a safe and efficient process, professional teeth whitening is administered with access to industry-leading methods and products. Here at Harley Teeth Whitening, our clients herald both the results themselves and the experience that they receive, from initial enquiry through to the aftercare process, and how to prolong their brighter smile. 

For more information, get in touch with our team today or browse our other blogs to find out more about the pros and cons of professional whitening and how soon you can expect a brighter smile.