Teeth Whitening: Over-the-Counter Products vs. Professional Treatments

Teeth whitening is a simple technique to improve the appearance of your smile. You’ve probably seen some over-the-counter teeth whitening solutions and are aware that your dentist can provide expert teeth whitening procedures. 

Over-the-counter (OTC) remedies are obviously more convenient, but are they as effective as professional tooth whitening procedures? Which is the safest option?

First, let’s define what OTC and Professional whitening treatments are.

Over-the-counter (OTC) teeth whitening products are non-prescription dental products that are readily available to consumers without the need for a dentist’s prescription. These products are designed for at-home use and are intended to help whiten teeth and reduce tooth staining. Some common OTC teeth whitening products include:

  • Whitening toothpaste
  • Whitening strips
  • Whitening gels trays
  • Whitening pens
  • Whitening Rinses

Professional teeth whitening treatments, on the other hand, are dental procedures used to whiten and brighten a person’s teeth that are performed by qualified dentists or dental professionals. These procedures are often performed in a dental office or under the guidance of a dental professional and entail the use of higher-concentration whitening chemicals.

Now, let’s compare.


OTC products are cheaper upfront, but more expensive over time: Although over-the-counter teeth whitening is less expensive in the short term, professional treatment lasts longer, produces brighter results, and includes maintenance packages. OTC techniques may require more frequent use, making them more expensive in the long run.


Professional teeth whitening treatments are generally safer: The majority of teeth whitening products contain hydrogen peroxide or similar ingredients, which can be dangerous if used incorrectly. When people mistakenly misuse or overuse whitening solutions in an attempt to speed up or intensify effects, they may permanently injure their gums and tooth enamel.

The effectiveness of over-the-counter tooth whitening treatments can vary, with some being too light and others being very strong, causing possible risks. If you decide to go ahead with teeth whitening, it is best to consult with a cosmetic dentist first to ensure that you choose the most appropriate and safe procedure for getting whiter teeth.


Professional teeth whitening is far more effective: Because of higher whitening solution concentrations, professional teeth whitening outperforms over-the-counter solutions. In-office treatments can whiten teeth up to eight shades in one visit when over-the-counter alternatives cannot. Be cautious of OTC products that promise such speedy results.


You can choose how white you want your teeth to be: Working with an expert cosmetic dentist allows for a more tailored discussion to establish the level of teeth whitening wanted. Unlike purchasing a teeth whitening solution off the shelf, where you have little control over the whitening outcome.

To learn which whitening treatment is the most suitable for you, contact us today to speak with a specialist about teeth whitening options and begin your journey to a brighter smile. Fontana Dental offers cutting-edge whitening methods to help you achieve your smile goals.

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