Teeth whitening has grown in popularity over the last decade with many treatment options available. The quality of the different types of teeth whitening products and procedures varies. One option is teeth whitening strips sold over the counter. These thin, flexible strips promise a brighter smile but raise concerns about their impact on oral health.
What Are Teeth Whitening Strips?
The whitening strips aim to lighten the color of teeth. They are typically made of a thin, transparent material coated with a gel, allowing for easy application and adherence to the teeth. These strips are applied directly onto the surface of the teeth and left in place for a specific duration, as outlined in the product instructions. These strips are not customized for optimal results like whitening products offered by dentists.
How Do Whitening Strips Work?
The active ingredient in whitening strips is usually hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. The gel penetrates the enamel and breaks down stains within the tooth structure. This oxidation process targets surface stains and those deeper within the enamel, aiming to reveal a whiter, brighter smile.
Risks and Benefits of Whitening Strips
Over-the-counter whitening strips include risks and benefits. On the positive side, they offer a convenient and relatively affordable method for improving tooth color. However, potential risks include tooth sensitivity, gum irritation, and, in some cases, damage to tooth enamel if used improperly or excessively. Plus, the process is not overseen by a dental professional who can monitor progress and make adjustments. This DIY approach to tooth whitening can leave your teeth worse off.
Potential Concerns and Side Effects
One of the main concerns is the potential to cause tooth sensitivity. The peroxide in the gel can temporarily open the pores in the enamel, leading to increased sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures. Moreover, improper usage or leaving the strips on longer than recommended can irritate the gums and even damage the enamel.
The Positive Outcome Potential
Despite the risks, people have reported successful outcomes with whitening strips, achieving noticeable improvements in tooth color. When used correctly, they can lighten stains and restore confidence in one’s smile.
Using Whitening Strips Safely
It’s crucial to follow the instructions provided with the whitening strips to minimize potential risks. Always adhere to the recommended duration for wearing the strips and avoid using them more frequently than instructed. Additionally, consulting a dentist before starting any whitening regimen can help assess individual risks and ensure proper usage.
Here are tips for safe and effective whitening:
- Follow the instructions – Stick to the recommended usage duration and frequency.
- Avoid overuse – Do not use whitening strips excessively, which can lead to adverse effects.
- Consult a dentist – Seek professional advice before starting any whitening treatment, especially if you have pre-existing dental conditions or sensitivity issues.
- Use products designed for sensitive teeth – Specialized whitening strips for sensitive teeth are available, offering a milder formula to minimize sensitivity.
Monitor Results and Address Sensitivity
Results with whitening strips can vary from person to person. Typically, users can see initial results within a few days to a couple of weeks of regular use. However, for lasting effects, periodic touch-ups might be necessary. If sensitivity occurs, it’s advisable to take a break from using the strips and consider desensitizing toothpaste or consult a dentist for recommendations.
Alternatives to Whitening Strips
If you aren’t happy with the color of your teeth, Atlanta Smiles’s cosmetic dentists have a way to enhance your smile. Teeth whitening gives patients a quick and effective solution for discolored teeth. Our professional teeth whitening services offer a safe and customized cosmetic dentistry procedure to meet your goals.
We offer three whitening options to help you achieve your smile goals.
- Zoom!™ Teeth Whitening: An in-office teeth whitening procedure takes approximately one and a half hours, leading to unbelievable results.
- Custom Tray Teeth Whitening: An ongoing teeth whitening process where patients use custom trays at home. The trays are made using custom impressions (molds) created in-house by our dental professionals.
- KöR Teeth Whitening: This unique system maximizes results while minimizing tooth sensitivity. The system uses custom trays and whitening gel to restore the teeth’s ability to absorb oxygen and dissolve staining.
Many of our patients use a combination of treatments to achieve optimal results. The Zoom!™ Whitening method will give you instant gratification and is perfect for getting event-ready. KöR Teeth Whitening is a practical and quick way to achieve aesthetic goals while maintaining the structural integrity of the teeth. Custom Trays are often used to maintain your enhanced whitened tooth appearance over time.
Start Today on a Whiter, Brighter Smile
Contact Atlanta Smiles to schedule an appointment for teeth whitening. We will evaluate your smile and oral health. Then, we will work with you to create the optimal treatment plan.