Virtually everyone strives for a healthy, bright smile. Because teeth stain over time due to age, smoking, coffee and wine, maintaining pearly white teeth goes beyond brushing. Many look for more advanced treatments to restore their bright smiles, including at-home whitening strips and professional treatments.
Demand for over-the-counter whitening products skyrocketed in the late ‘90s to early 2000s when easy-to-use strips were first introduced. These kits allow individuals to personalize their whitening routine from the comfort of home at a lower entry cost. But, do these easy-to-access kits work as well as the professional-grade treatments?
At-Home Whitening Treatments
Because whitening strips are cleared for common use, at-home whitening solutions are not as potent as professional-grade treatments. The active ingredient used in at-home whitening gel is peroxide, which helps lift stains from the surface of teeth. However, professional whitening treatment gels have a higher concentration of hydrogen peroxide, creating a stronger reaction that whitens teeth faster. ZOOM! Whitening, in specific, uses an ultraviolet light which activates the hydrogen peroxide solution, resulting in a whiter smile almost right away.
Unlike ZOOM!, which requires just two hours total, whitening strips must be used regularly. Strips are typically recommended daily, sometimes twice per day, for optimal results. Length of application can run anywhere between 5 and 45 minutes, depending on brand and formula strength. Since tooth sensitivity varies by individual, many patients feel discomfort after using at-home teeth whitening strips, which makes the recommended regular use a painful process. Patients with sensitivity might find it easier to undergo a professional whitening treatment where discomfort time is limited and can be alleviated with an over-the-counter pain reliever.
While whitening strips have dramatically advanced their design in the past decade, they aren’t foolproof. These strips often slip from their target zone and have a tendency to ride up on gums and further soreness. In a professional treatment, a hygienist covers lips and gums in order to protect these delicate areas from damage and pain. Plus, strip sizes are limited and typically cover just the six front teeth, creating a stark contrast between the treated area and the teeth near the corners of your mouth. If you have a wide smile, strips may not do the trick.
Finally, the upfront costs may be lower, but at-home whitening is an ongoing process. In the long run, it’s typically more cost effective for one professional treatment compared to years of at-home whitening kits.
Although many products make it easier to achieve whiter teeth at home, nothing beats the real thing. To schedule a consultation for ZOOM! Whitening in South Florida, contact Assure A Smile at 305-274-0047.
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