Do Whitening Strips Actually Work?

When it comes to over-the-counter whitening products, the options are almost endless.  There is a wide variety of brands and methods available at your local pharmacy and grocery store in the oral care aisle.  You can also find countless options for sale online.  So how do you know which one to choose?

Whitening strips have been around for decades and have a dependable outcome.  In this week’s blog, we’ll discuss how they work and the results you can expect from using them.

What are Whitening Strips?

The first brand to manufacture over-the-counter whitening strips was Crest, and their Crest White Strips have maintained great popularity and success over two decades.  There are now many brands making their own version of teeth whitening strips, and while they may have differing concentrations of the active ingredient, they tend to work in the same manner.

Whitening strips are small plastic strips, containing an embedded peroxide gel and an adhesive, that cover the teeth and apply the whitening ingredient to the enamel for the requisite amount of time.

How Do They Work?

There are two essential factors in achieving successful teeth whitening: 1) the right active ingredient, and 2) a reliable method of application.  Whitening strips check both of these boxes.

The only chemical capable of penetrating into tooth enamel and breaking down darkly pigmented compounds within the tooth is hydrogen peroxide.  Some whitening products contain its close relative, carbamide peroxide, which breaks down into hydrogen peroxide.  It is safe to say that if you do not see the word peroxide in the ingredients list, the produce will not produce true changes in the color of the teeth.

The method of application is also important because you must keep the peroxide chemical in contact with your enamel for a specific length of time.  Whitening strips are designed to stick to the teeth and remain in place until you remove them.

Because whitening strips meet the two most important criteria for effective results, you can expect them to work!

What Other Methods of Teeth Whitening are Available?

If you are looking through the over-the-counter options, you will see large mouthpiece-like trays to wear over the teeth, whitening pens, and LED lights.  Some of these products may produce a noticeable result, but in our opinion, they are less predictable than whitening strips.

For a more predictable result than whitening strips, you can speak to Dr. Chowning about professional teeth whitening using custom-made carrier trays with prescription strength gel.  This teeth whitening option provides the mot predictable and sustainable result because the carrier trays will last for many years.  After performing the initial whitening phase, you can continue to maintain the color of your teeth periodically over the years.

Another professional teeth whitening option is in-office whitening, a procedure in which your dental professional applies a very high strength whitening gel to the teeth to obtain results in about one hour.  These chemicals are not safe for home use as they can burn the gums, lips, cheeks and tongue.  Your dentist uses barriers to protect the soft tissues and apply the gel only to the teeth.  Most people notice three to four shades color change in about an hour of in-office whitening treatment.

More Questions about Teeth Whitening?

Call Timberlake Dental today at 940-382-1750 to schedule a whitening consultation with Dr. Chowning.  He can answer any question you have about various over-the-counter whitening products, as well as our professional strength products, and help you choose the one that is right for you.