Five Things To Know Before You Use Over-The-Counter Tooth Whitening Strips

Your smile is one of the first things people notice about you. Given this fact, it's no wonder that over 37 million people whiten their teeth each year.

There are several methods commonly used to attain a perfectly white smile, one of today's most popular being over-the-counter (OTC) tooth whitening strips. At first glance, these do-it-yourself strips seem like a convenient and inexpensive way to get the smile of your dreams. However, there are some downsides you should be aware of. Here are five things to know before using over-the-counter tooth whitening strips.

1. Your White Smile Won't Last

One of the biggest downfalls to over-the-counter tooth whitening strips is that your smile won't stay pristine for very long. To keep your pearly whites, you'll need to repeat the process several times per year. While this may not be an inconvenience for some, it can severely damage the enamel of your teeth which could lead to future dental problems. On the other hand, in-office whitening is long-lasting and isn't as harsh on the structure of your teeth.

2. Your Teeth May Not Actually Whiten

When you have your teeth whitened by a dentist, they'll personalize the process to ensure you receive the best results safely. Since OTC whitening strips are often a one-size-fits-all product, the concentration of hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide may be too low to produce any noticeable difference in the colour of your teeth, leaving you with the same smile you started with.  Or some products may have very high concentrations to get you some effect but will most likely cause sensitivity of the teeth or damage your enamel.

3. OTC Whitening Strips May Damage Your Teeth

Although the level of peroxide or bleach in OTC whitening strips is often low and may whiten your teeth, continuous long-term use can cause serious erosion—especially if your teeth are already sensitive. Eroded enamel increases your risk of cavities and more intense tooth sensitivity which could lead to costly repairs. With professional whitening, you can achieve a whiter smiler that lasts longer than OTC whitening strips. In fact, most patients only whiten their teeth once or twice a year to maintain their bright smile!

4. You Might Only Whiten Part of Your Smile

Your smile contains dozens of nooks and crannies which are often difficult to reach with OTC whitening products. While whitening strips may effectively brighten the front of your teeth, they neglect the sides and back. This can lead to an unsightly splotchy look that may make you feel worse about your smile than when you started.

5. They May Not Work on Certain Teeth

Unfortunately, whitening strips aren't suitable for everyone. If you have sensitive teeth or gums, you could experience great levels of pain due to the chemicals contained in each strip. Furthermore, since OTC strips aren't 100% effective, you risk increasing the sensitivity of your teeth without getting the white teeth you set out for. Sometimes the dark areas of your tooth you are seeing may actually be root surface showing, which may not change color the same way enamel does.  Also, some patients have darker teeth due to medication that their mother may have been taking while pregnant, such as Tetracycline. In these cases, OTC or in-office whitening will not be very effective or give predictable results.

If perfectly white teeth are your goal, it is best to find a trusted dentist who can give you the smile you're looking for. For tooth whitening in Vancouver, there is no better place than Cypress Dental. We offer in-office Zoom whitening that can produce noticeable results in only 1 appointment! See our smile gallery for some of our before and after results. Zoom whitening is a safe and effective way to brighten your smile as our LED Zoom lamp can be adjusted to meet the specific needs of each patient. Additionally, Cypress Dental also offers take-home whitening kits that allow you to safely whiten your smile conveniently at home. Schedule an appointment today and dazzle your friends and family with a perfect smile.