Are At-Home Teeth Whiteners Worth It? | James Heller DMD | A premiere cosmetic dental practice in Easton Massachusetts

James Heller DMD

Are At-Home Teeth Whiteners Worth It?

Selfie Ready Smile

Are At-Home Teeth Whiteners Worth It?

The best way to make an impact with your smile is to make sure you have a gorgeous set of gleaming, bright, white teeth. But with Americans dropping upwards of $1.4 billion annually on non-prescription teeth whitening kits, are they actually worth the time — not to mention all that cash — you spend?

Let’s check out these three DIY teeth whitening methods to see how they stack up:

Whitening Strips

Whitening strips are easy to use, cost roughly $25 for ten treatments and can be done in just minutes a day. But do they work? “Teeth whitening strips apply a thin layer of bleach to your teeth that works the same way you might bleach a shirt or your hair,” Dr. Heller says. Which means that they do work — but only as long as you use them. Of course, as Dr. Heller tells us, “It’s not a long-lasting solution, and since whitening strips are unregulated, overuse can be dangerous.” 

The verdict:

Yes, they work to help remove stains like food, wine and coffee, but they can take several months before you see your desired effect and might start fading as soon as you stop using them!

Whitening Toothpaste

If getting a brighter smile is as easy as buying a whitening toothpaste, sign us up! Most whitening toothpastes use a mild abrasive that can remove surface stains as you brush. A whitening toothpaste doesn’t contain peroxide, the bleaching agent commonly used in whitening strips, so your results are going to be less dramatic and will take longer to achieve.

The verdict:

If you’re looking for a big change to your smile, a whitening toothpaste alone isn’t gonna get you there. Dr. Heller recommends using whitening toothpaste in addition to other methods to help prolong your look.

Whitening Trays

Over-the-counter whitening trays are made with a flexible material that molds to your teeth, so they cover a bigger area than whitening strips. That’s the upside. The downside is that to be effective, you need to hold these trays in your mouth potentially for hours at a time — even overnight in some cases! Commitment-phobes, don’t try this at home. And while some trays come pre-filled with bleach, others require you to apply the whitening solution yourself. Which could lead to an over application of bleach that can actually harm your mouth. 

The verdict: Whitening trays come the closest to a professional teeth whitening service, but when used unsupervised, can run the risk of actually damaging your teeth and gums.

While at-home teeth whitening products are more advanced than ever before, if you’re serious about ditching that dingy smile and brightening your teeth, your best bet is to consult a professional!

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