Field Guide to Drugstore Whitening Treatments

August 14, 2017

If you love to drink cola, red wine, coffee, or tea, there’s a good chance you’ve noticed that these foods have a tendency to discolor your teeth. At times, it can seem like you only have two options: give up your favorite beverages or live with yellow teeth. Fortunately, this isn’t the case.

There are dozens upon dozens of whitening treatments available over the counter, so it’s wise to be suspicious. At South Springs Dental Group, we want our patients to have access to accurate information so they can confidently choose a whitening option that suits them. That’s why we compiled this field guide to drugstore whitening treatments.

What Causes Teeth to Yellow?

When you experience staining, this is actually a new layer, called a pellicle film, forming over your enamel, the outermost layer of your teeth.

Smoking cigarettes and consuming foods and drinks that are rich in color all contribute to this film of residue. Over time, the film works its way into your enamel. Once it embeds there, removing it can be a huge challenge. Even dental hygienists may not be able to take away these stains with professional equipment and skill.

To remove stubborn stains from your teeth, you will likely have to employ more intensive measures.

OTC Whiteners

Many patients search for an over-the-counter product that they can use to treat tooth discoloration at home. These options can be convenient and flexible.

The two active ingredients typically used in drugstore tooth whiteners are hydrogen peroxide and carbamide. These come in many forms, including gels, pastes, mouthwashes, and strips.

In terms of effectiveness, pastes and washes tend to be lease effective, while gels and strips tend to be most effective. This is because carbamide and hydrogen peroxide work best when they sit on the teeth for an extended period of time.

As these ingredients come in contact with your enamel, they bleach your teeth and lift away stains.

Drawbacks to OTC Whitening

When you opt to whiten your teeth on your own, you miss out on having guidance from a professional. Dental professionals can asses the situation in your mouth and recommend the product that is ideal for your unique set of pearly whites.

Even when following directions exactly, OTC whiteners can cause complications like gum shrinkage or oral infection. Unlike having your teeth whitened by a professional, there is no way to tailor your drugstore whitener to reduce irritation or increase effectiveness.

In-Office Whitening Options

Rather than attempting to improve your smile on your own with drugstore finds, if you truly want whiter teeth, you should consult a professional cosmetic dentist.

At South Springs Dental Group, we offer both take-home and in-office whitening treatments that provide dramatic results with little risk to you.

Whitening System Treatment Time Cost
In-Office One 60 minute office visit $390
Take-Home Once a day for 45 minutes for 2-5 weeks $99

Bright RewardsIn just one visit to our office, you can achieve the movie star smile you’ve always wanted.

All of our patients who receive chairside whitening are enrolled in our Bright Rewards program for FREE. Other patients pay a one-time fee of $99.

Bright Rewards members are fitted with a bleaching tray and receive two tubes of whitening gel. Each time you visit the office for a dental cleaning, you will get two tubes of touch-up gel for FREE.

To learn more about the whitening services we offer here at South Springs Dental Group, visit our whitening page.