What Is the Best Way to Get My Teeth Whitened?

Murdoch Sept #1

Nothing makes a smile more radiant than a row of pearly whites. But with so many choices for whitening available, it can be difficult to decide the best way to go. Should you try using whitening toothpaste, by far the least expensive method? Or try a do-it-yourself approach with whitening strips or over-the-counter trays? Or is it best to leave it to the pros and get a whitening treatment from your dentist? When deciding the best option for you, your teeth, and your budget, you need to weigh three different aspects of each choice: effectiveness, cost, and safety.

When considering effectiveness, professional whitening is clearly the best option. Whitening toothpastes truly do little more than a normal, everyday tube of toothpaste does. Over-the-counter trays and strips can be limiting— strips really only treat the front six teeth to eight teeth, and, should you have any teeth that aren’t perfectly straight in that section, results can be very inconsistent. The bottom line is that whitening agents in over-the-counter products are simply not as strong as those used by professionals, so even if they do work, they won’t get your teeth nearly as white as a professional treatment would.

Obviously, over-the-counter products are going to be less expensive than a professional whitening treatment, but that doesn’t mean they are the best value. Considering the effectiveness (and speed) of a professional whitening treatment, you are likely to be much happier with the stretch of your dollar going with the pros. These treatments can vary a lot in cost, depending on whether you go the route of a custom-fitted tray and take home whitening solution, or a full-blown in-office treatment. However, if over-the-counter products are what your current budget calls for, ask your dentist if they recommend one product over another. They will likely favor certain products over others and be able to give you tips for maximum effectiveness.

Whitening by a professional is widely considered the safer option, as it is done under supervision and with products that are regulated for quality and safety. Most over-the-counter products are considered safe if used exactly as they are meant to be used, but overuse or accidental ingestion can damage teeth or cause health complications. If you go the over-the-counter route, use a regulated product (like Crest Whitestrips) and use them exactly as the instructions dictate.

Whatever you do, remember that a beautiful smile is a healthy smile. No amount of over-the-counter, or even professional, whitening treatments can take the place of proper dental care. Maintain good dental hygiene practices and visit your dentist every six months for a cleaning and examination.

To learn more about whitening and other aesthetic dentistry services, visit https://murdochdds.com/

Richard Murdoch, DDS serves the Centennial neighborhood in Denver, Colorado.

September 12, 2017