The Drawbacks of Over-the-Counter Whitening Products

porcelain veneers pictureReasons why professional cosmetic dentistry is a safer, more effective solution for whiter teeth:

Consumers spend about 1.7 billion dollars annually on over-the-counter teeth whitening products. The convenience and low cost of store-bought whiteners, along with aggressive retail marketing by manufacturers, have made these products a popular choice.

However, there are serious drawbacks to using over-the-counter whitening products without the guidance of a professional dentist. Chief among these is applying bleaching and whitening chemicals to damaged teeth. If these chemicals penetrate a cracked tooth or an unfilled cavity, they can cause painful, irreversible damage that eventually requires a root canal. For this reason, a thorough dental exam should be conducted before any whitening products are used.

Some over-the-counter whitening agents are applied with overnight whitening trays, and these hold several concerns. Patients who grind their teeth, or who have temporomandibular joint disorder are not good candidates for this method.

Also, over-the-counter whitening trays will not conform to the exact shape of your teeth. The home whitening treatment will be less effective, and the chemicals could escape the tray and come in contact with your gums. Gum irritation, irreversible gum recession, pain and sensitivity can follow. Ingesting a significant amount of whitening chemicals can cause irritation and burning of the esophagus and stomach.

Over-the-counter whitening products lend themselves to overuse, which can result in tooth and gum sensitivity, burning or shooting pain, and the breakdown of tooth enamel. As the enamel wears thin, teeth discolor more easily – leading to the destructive cycle of using more whitening products. Eventually, teeth that are over-whitened become translucent, appearing bluish or gray.

Cosmetic dentistry offers the benefits of pre-treatment examination and personal assessment, so that you have realistic expectations of your whitening benefits. In-office whitening treatments such as Zoom!® can achieve maximum results in three fifteen-minute treatments. These treatments are long-lasting, and provide better whitening results than over-the-counter products. And because the treatments are administered by a professional dentist, there is mindful protection of gum tissue and tooth enamel.

If you are interested in professional teeth whitening, a Periodontal Risk Assessment and professional consultation the first step!

Gregory S. Tehle, DDS, provides cosmetic dentistry consultations using state-of-the-art technologies. Dr. Tehle’s 35 years of experience, along with his compassionate approach to restorative dentistry, make him the preferred choice for cosmetic dentistry in Chicago’s northwest suburbs.

Contact Dr. Tehle for an appointment today! Dr. Tehle provides world-class dentistry services to patients in Barrington, South Barrington, Barrington Hills, Arlington Heights, Palatine and the surrounding area.

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