Let’s face it, few things are more attractive than a white smile. With a healthy-looking smile, you radiate any room you walk into, commanding the attention of everyone in it. It’s common for our teeth to develop a yellow tint as life progresses; representing not only our aging enamel but our oral care habits and overall state of being.              

          

Proven reliable and effective by the masses, many rely on teeth whitening methods to brighten their smile before a big event or important social gathering. However, are all teeth whitening techniques created equal? What’s the difference between the over-the-counter products and the professionally prescribed methods? Which one will best serve your smile? Let’s find out.

The Professional Path

Dental professionals are educated and trained to identify the unique circumstances of each and every patient they serve. With this experience, they may utilize their knowledge and resources to provide you with the best solution, completely customized and catering to your individual smile’s needs.

Strengths

A Professional’s Touch

If applied incorrectly, over the counter products, especially unregulated ones, can damage your teeth! The last thing you want in the process of trying to obtain a whiter smile is tooth decay. Medical supervision is the most acceptable countermeasure, since dental professionals are capable of producing the results you desire, without sacrificing the health of your oral anatomy along the way. 

State of the Art

Professional teeth whitening methods also boast the ability to utilize state of the art equipment, capable of producing long standing results instead of a mere quick fix. While also reaching farther along your smile than store bought alternatives, which generally only penetrate the surface of the front six or so teeth. 

Dynamic and Diverse

The professional method is dynamic enough to address all types of staining. Store bought products usually adopt the one size fits all approach, meaning they target the same issue across the board. This doesn’t take into account your unique teeth, and any specific types of staining they may contain. 

Weaknesses

A Busy Schedule

Juggling a hectic schedule is one of the reasons over the counter whitening methods were developed; as patients can access this solution without it disrupting their daily endeavors. Booking and commuting to additional dental appointments may prove inconvenient for you, and it’s one of the necessary evils of professional teeth whitening. However, thanks to modern advancements, most professional procedures can now be fully performed in one sitting!

Breaking the Bank

As costs vary from each individual in relation to their goals, professional teeth whitening will be pricier than its store-bought counterpart. Moreover, most insurance companies seldom cover cosmetic procedures. Be sure to ask your dentist for a price range relevant to your specific situation and what your options are in terms of treatment.

The Over-the-Counter Products

There is a plethora of products widely available at most drug stores which are capable of some kind of teeth whitening. Many brands have developed and marketed their own version of the practice. As time has progressed, the store-bought versions have evolved into more reliable and worthwhile versions of their predecessors decades ago.              

             

Strengths

Affordability Factor

In terms of results, professional methods still remain undisputed. In regards to price though, the store-bought products are the clear winner. Most kits are widely available at drugstores, pharmacies, and online platforms for a fraction of the price that is demanded by their professional counterparts. Most products range anywhere from thirty to eighty dollars, with the higher quality and more reputable ones being pricier. 

Anywhere and Everywhere

The flexibility that the in-store options offer you are extremely enticing. Being able to brighten your smile while commuting to work, running an errand, or cooking dinner is an undeniable bonus. And for most products, you’ll only be tasked with wearing them between thirty minutes to an hour per strip. For those who are not seeking drastic results, this option by far provides the most convenient experience.

Weaknesses 

A Second Place Status

A lower price point is synonymous with lesser quality across all products and services. Even the most reputable and affluent store-bought products cannot compete with the professionally offered alternative. A professional procedure is capable of whitening teeth by several shades of improvement, while the over-the-counter methods are generally a one shade solution and fail to last as long.

Room For Error

Without the guidance of trained experts, consumers are at a heightened risk of misusing store bought products. Placing you at risk to damage your teeth’s enamel and increase their sensitivity- disrupting your daily oral functions. 

Not an Overnight Fix

While they’re flexibility proves beneficial for congested schedules, they are not as effective as the professional method. If you’re seeking a quick fix within a limited timeframe, let’s say an important event is quickly approaching, the professional method is still the only guarantee to brighten your teeth immediately. 

So, Who’s the Winner?

Both methods will brighten your smile to some degree, and it ultimately comes down to your specific situation. If you seek a more structural and long-lasting improvement and are willing to sacrifice the money, the professional option is the clear winner. However, if you’re seeking a more gradual and modest enhancement that boasts flexibility and ease of access, the store-bought options (particularly the Crest brand) are acceptable alternatives!

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