DIY Teeth Whitening Kits vs. Going to a Professional

When rapper Cardi B released the hit song “Bodak Yellow,” she rapped about earning enough money to get porcelain veneers. The internet went crazy.

Yes, fans loved the song — but they also wanted to know who her dentist was! Shortly after the song topped the charts, Dr. Catrise Austin, who also takes care of DJ Khaled’s smile, saw her business triple.

If you want sparkling white teeth fit for a superstar, porcelain veneers are one way to go. However, if your teeth are straight and even, but just discolored or dingy, teeth whitening kits might be better.

But should you go the DIY route, or put yourself in the care of a dental professional? We’ve broken down the pros and cons for you!

How Do Yellow Teeth Happen?

First, let’s take a look at some of the causes of yellow, stained teeth. There are steps you can take to stop discoloration in its tracks.

Red wine, coffee, tea, and colas all contribute to staining. Some foods, like blueberries, are also to blame. If you drink any of them, use a straw if at all possible.

No straws available — or you feel silly sipping your pinot noir with a straw? Go ahead and indulge. Make sure to brush your teeth thoroughly afterward.

Smoking cigarettes can also take a toll on your smile. Another contributing factor for yellowing teeth is merely the aging process. Just as we experience hair loss as we age, our teeth also lose their once-bright appearance.

Of course, some people are born with less-than-gleaming chompers. Additionally, some antibiotics and other medications can lead to a gray, dingy appearance, especially if the patient was under eight years old when prescribed the antibiotics.

In these cases, regular brushing and flossing won’t do anything besides keeping your teeth healthy. To improve their aesthetics, you will need to use teeth whitening kits. You can purchase them over the counter, or custom made by a dentist. Let’s look further at these two options.

At Home Teeth Whitening Kits

By U.K. law, only dentists can provide teeth whitening kits, but of course, there’s nothing to stop you from ordering a teeth whitening product on the Internet, or getting one from a different country when you travel. Depending on the type you choose, it will set you back anywhere from $10 up to $200.

Whitening toothpaste and mouthwash are easy to find and inexpensive to buy, but they’re also the least effective method. Then there are premade whitening trays, which are filled with a whitening solution and used to cover the teeth.

A big drawback of these trays is that they won’t fit your teeth very well. As a result, the whitening solution can ooze out, so instead of working to whiten your teeth, they merely irritate your gums.

A slightly better choice are teeth whitening strips. These are thin strips made of plastic and treated with a peroxide solution. They adhere directly to the teeth — or that’s the idea, at any rate.

Saliva can interfere with their adhesion, leading to the strips coming loose or sliding around in your mouth. Either way, they’re not useful if they are not in place. Just as with the premade trays, the strips can be irritating to your gums.

The pros of at-home whitening include their low cost and their convenience. You can whiten your teeth using strips or trays while you are watching television or cooking dinner.

The drawbacks? Well, aside from the poor fit and potential irritation, these DIY methods don’t work very well. You might see a difference in the shade of your teeth immediately following the treatment, but it won’t last very long. That’s because over the counter kits contain a diluted peroxide solution, usually about .1% — far too little to make a real difference.

Professional Teeth Whitening

On the other end of the spectrum is professional bleaching. If you’re already thinking that this option is going to be spendy, well, you’re correct. The procedure takes over an hour, as well.

It involves the application of a whitening gel — usually about 35-40% peroxide — and the use of a special lamp or even a laser the dentist must aim at your teeth for the entire time. We don’t know about you, but we sure don’t want to sit in a dentist’s chair with our mouth held open and a light shining on it for an hour.

Dentist Made, Take-Home Whitening Kits

The good news? There is a happy medium between these two extremes: being fitted for a custom tray by a dentist, then taking the tooth whitening kit home to use in privacy and at your convenience.

Because the tray is specially made in a lab to fit your mouth, there is no worry about it slipping, sliding, or causing discomfort. Not only is this treatment much more comfortable than one-size-fits-all DIY trays or strips, but it is also much more effective.

The gel that your dentist will send you home with contains the higher strength of peroxide. You get the same whitening power of a professional procedure; only you don’t have to sit in the dentist’s chair while the teeth whitening does its magic.

These kits are designed to be worn at nighttime, while you sleep. You should see remarkable results after just two weeks. If your teeth are heavily stained or discolored, it might take a bit longer.

When you visit Andrew Thomas Dental Care, the experienced professionals will explain how, and how long, to use the custom-made trays.

Best of all, this professional level teeth whitening solution won’t cost you an arm and a leg. It’s surprisingly affordable!

Have You Ever Used Teeth Whitening Kits?

It’s pretty clear which approach to teeth whitening is the winner here. Why mess around with at-home kits that don’t deliver results, or spend your whole paycheck on a cosmetic dentistry treatment? Instead, look into kits that fit your mouth and give the exact amount of whitening you desire.

Do you have any experience with over-the-counter teeth whitening kits from the Internet? What did you think? We’d love to hear all about it, so leave a comment below!