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What’s the Best way to Whiten Your Teeth, Over-the-Counter or by Your Dentist?

by Dr. Peter Adams, DDS

Teeth Whitening Peter Adams Family Dentistry Chesapeake Virginia


You’re proud of your smile but have you ever wanted your smile to be just a little bit whiter? Not as bright as Ross in that episode of the show “Friends” but a nice pearly white that enhances your looks and brightens your smile. How can you get that natural white smile? Is it better to use an over-the-counter teeth whitening products or should you schedule an appointment with your dentist?



What’s the Best way to Whiten Your Teeth, Over-the-Counter or by Your Dentist?

Over-the-counter whitening products

One word. Overwhelming. There are so many whitening choices claims of removing years of stains or whiter teeth in only 7 days, so what are the pro and cons of OTC (over-the-counter) teeth whitening treatments?

  • The cost is considerably lower than professional whitening at the dentist office.
  • If your teeth are not badly stained, an OTC teeth whitening product may be a good choice if you want to minimize your investment.
  • Let’s say you’re going to a wedding in a few days, and you forgot to make an appointment to get your teeth whitened. Using the drug store kit may be fine for “emergency” use.

What are the downsides to using an OTC kit?

  1. One size fits all will not give your teeth the best results because no two sets of teeth are the same.
  2. It only whitens your front teeth.
  3. Since it’s up to you to figure out how to use them, a lot of times people use them incorrectly. If you’re too close to the gums, you can actually cause them to recede.
  4. If you have sensitive teeth, you many experience more discomfort than at the dentist office.
  5. People can overuse the OTC kits and that can damage their teeth and gums.


Professional Teeth WhiteningProfessional Teeth Whitening vs Over-the-counter

Getting your teeth whitened at the dentist office is a different experience than relying on your skills at attaching strips to your teeth as illustrated at home. Since the whitening is being supervised by a dentist, the solution is stronger than the ones in the OTC kits. Pros for getting your teeth whitening at the dentist office include:

  • Whitening trays are customized to the fit of your teeth and provide maximum contact for all your teeth in a more precise method.
  • The whitening effect, which is on average seven shades lighter, lasts longer than OTC kits.
  • For people with sensitive teeth, the customized trays will minimize the irritation felt
  • Teeth whitening products at the dentist office are safer and healthier than ever.
  • Most dentists offer an at-home whitening kit that is more economical and provide the same results as in the office.
  • All of your teeth will be whitened, and not just the ones in the front.

Now that take-home kits are available from your dentist, it makes it more convenient too! The only real con is the price for whitening at your dentist. This can be off-set by the fact it lasts longer.

Regardless of which teeth whitening choice you make, it’s always best to start with freshly cleaned teeth. Whitening right after your 6 month cleaning is ideal. Of course minimizing staining on your teeth can also help, so try to avoid coffee, tea, red wine and tobacco products. Getting whiter teeth is easier, safer and more effective than ever before, so explore your options to make your smile white and bright.



Dr. Peter Adams – Dr. Peter Adams Family Dental practice in Chesapeake Virginia provides personalized RestorativePreventative, and Cosmetic Dentistry, including Sleep Apnea, Teeth Whitening, Periodontal Disease and Emergency Dental Care for your entire family. Dr. Peter Adams has been practicing general dentistry for over 30 years. He served as a general dentist in the United States Navy for 16 years and has been practicing in the Hampton Roads area for the past 16 years.


Call now to schedule your appointment at our
Chesapeake Virginia Dental office! (757) 547-0222




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