Why You Might Not See Results with OTC Teeth Whitening Products

Nowadays, there is no shortage of teeth whitening products available in pharmacies and supermarkets. Companies like Crest and Rembrandt promise whiter, brighter teeth after just a few weeks of using strips, trays or gel pens. These products may seem appealing because they are affordable and convenient, but often they don’t actually work the way you would like them to.

The Drawbacks of OTC Whitening Products

The biggest reason why over-the-counter products don’t produce the desired results is that the ingredients are weak, compared to the professional products a dentist uses. The formulation of the bleaching agent, usually hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide, isn’t powerful enough to significantly lighten stained or discolored teeth.

Despite not being as potent as professional whitening products, OTC products can lead to sensitivity or discomfort. Tray-based systems may be ill-fitting, causing the bleaching agent to leak and irritate the gums and soft tissues of the mouth. Many people stop using the products because of issues with sensitivity. OTC whitening products can irritate untreated cavities and areas of tooth decay, causing excruciating pain.

Also, many patients aren’t aware that OTC whitening products do not lighten existing dental restorations, like crowns or fillings. Whitening a combination of restored and natural teeth can lead to uneven-looking results.

What to Do If You’re Unhappy with Results of OTC Whitening

If you’re unhappy with the results of over-the-counter whitening, Dr. Robert Milner offers a couple of safe, effective alternatives. He can perform chairside whitening in his office using a powerful bleaching agent and a special laser or light to activate the properties of the gel. Or, he can dispense custom-fitted whitening trays (with a whitening gel) that aren’t likely to slip or slide around in the mouth; these can easily be used in the comfort of your own home.

Before starting any type of professional whitening treatment, Dr. Milner will examine your teeth for cavities or decay. If he finds something, he can address it before proceeding with whitening treatment. Dr. Milner can also recommend how to work around existing dental restorations like crowns or fillings for a beautiful, even-looking smile.

Learn More about Professional Teeth Whitening Treatment

For more information about chairside whitening or customized “take-home” kits, please contact our Mission Viejo practice by calling (949) 859-8899 today.