Whitening Teeth: You Get What You Pay For

We all have seen commercials featuring models with amazingly brilliant teeth.  Those pearly whites have surely prompted many viewers to consider the aid of teeth whiteners. However, as many consumers head towards their favorite drugstore to purchase such products, they may wonder if these products really work and if they will be able to achieve the same results as the advertised models.

Truth is, when it comes to whitening teeth, there may be products that work and there may be products that will only waste you time and money. As with any products on the market, thorough research goes a long way.  As a general rule of thumb, do not be fooled by those advertisements that sound too good to be true. You will be left disappointed once you notice that your teeth have not lightened up to ten shades as promised.

The top question, though, from a consumer point of view may be the following: "Do teeth whiteners bought at retail stores equal the teeth whitening procedure performed in a dental office?" The answer to this question is that results vary. It all basically depends on the amount of whitening needed, the age of the patient, the extent of the staining and other important factors.

In-office dental whitenings can be quite expensive because of the use of higher concentrations of peroxide gel, the use of safety protective measures (a paint on rubber dam) and of course the costs involved with paying for the dentist's time and expertise.

Over-the-counter whiteners, on the other hand, offer much lower concentrations of peroxide gel and usually do not require any protective equipment. The lower the concentration of peroxide gel, the lesser the bleaching effect. An office dental whitening generally uses concentrations of peroxide up to around 38% to 40%. At home, you will be dealing with concentrations of about 12%, or even lower. It basically comes down to the saying "you get what you pay for."

As a general rule off thumb, drugstore teeth whiteners will whiten teeth, but only up to a certain extent, while in-office teeth whitenings have more impressive results. So, it all depends on your expectations. If they are pretty high, head for your dental office. If you have only minor stains, head for the drugstore instead.

Consumers often don't realize that teeth whitening is a process, not a one-time chore. Maintaining white teeth is a long-term commitment rather than a quick fix. If you purchase a teeth whitener and see immediate results, you must realize that those results will not last forever. You will have to re-purchase the kit once again after a while. However, there are many things that you can do to prolong your pearly whites, such as staying away from coffee, tea and tobacco.

As with almost anything on earth, maintenance and regular "touch ups" go a long way toward granting you a shiny and bright smile. Whether you decide on a trip to the dentist or to the drugstore, keep up the good work, and your smile will certainly be rewarded in the long run.

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