Best Tooth Whitening Methods Revealed by Dentists

Best teeth whitening methodsWhen it comes to teeth whitening, dentists say custom-fit bleaching trays for at-home whitening are the most effective option. Three-quarters of the dentists in this survey said it works great.

Dentists feel that in-office gel bleaching and laser teeth whitening work okay, but they are not impressed with store-bought teeth whiteners.

“The at-home custom-fit tray whitening method works best,” said one dentist. “Over the course of several days, the patient can control the degree of tooth whitening to her own preferences — something that cannot be said for the other methods. And once the custom trays are made, the patient can easily and efficiently perform the later ‘touch-ups’ that inevitably will be needed with the passage of time.”

“Who trusts a pimply faced kid at the mall to whiten their teeth?” asked a California dentist.

“Any monkey can whiten teeth,” said a Florida dentist. “The art is whitening to the fullest extent possible, which varies from person to person; and then to do it predictably without creating sensitivity. Sensitivity can be a real show stopper.”

Read more: Best Teeth Whitening Methods According to Dentists

Teeth Whitening Product Strength Heavily Regulated in Europe

Teeth Whitening Product Strength Heavily Regulated in EuropeTooth whitening products that could harm teeth are a little harder to buy online, thanks to the efforts of Which?, a British consumer watchdog group.

The group discovered teeth whiteners available on major websites such as eBay, Amazon and Google that contain dangerously high levels of hydrogen peroxide – up to 350 times what is now permitted in the European Union.

It’s not just remarkable how much peroxide is in these products – it’s also remarkable how little peroxide is now permitted in whiteners sold in Europe. The European Union has recently banned sales of teeth whitening products with over 0.1% hydrogen peroxide. Here’s a brief history:

  • March 2005: European Scientific Committee on Consumer Products (SCCP) recommends that >0.1 to 6.0% hydrogen peroxide (or equivalent for hydrogen peroxide-releasing substances) be considered safe “after consultation with and approval of the consumer’s dentist.”
  • January 2008: SCCP again recommends that up to 6% hydrogen peroxide is a safe limit to use for at-home tooth bleaching.
  • March 2010: The European Commission classifies over-the-counter tooth whitening products as cosmetics, not medical devices. As such, they are limited to containing or releasing a maximum of 0.1% hydrogen peroxide. (Read more)

By contrast, the home bleaching products that have the ADA Seal of Acceptance contain 10 percent carbamide peroxide (a bleaching agent that is roughly three times weaker than hydrogen peroxide).

We did a search in Google’s Shopping section for the term “carbamide peroxide,” and the very first result was a 44% carbamide peroxide solution available through Amazon. “There is no stronger or more effective gel available on the market,” reads the product description.

Other products that showed up in Google include:

  • Four Patient 35% Hydrogen Peroxide Kit: 8-Arch
  • 14% Hydrogen Peroxide Take Home Whitening Kit
  •  Prefilled Whitening Tray 12% Peroxide
  • Zoom Whitening Z Mint 6%
  • 15 Syringes of 30% Carbamide Peroxide Gel
  • 12 Syringes of 30% Hi-Intensity Carbamide Peroxide Gel
  • Teeth Whitening Pens 44% Carbamide Peroxide (1000 Units)

Now, it seems unlikely that a consumer would drop $2,659 on 1,000 whitening pens, but that’s not the point. The point is that extremely powerful teeth whitening agents – the kind that should only be used by a licensed dentist – are easily available to the general public.

The products in question aren’t being sold directly by Amazon or Google, but by individual sellers who list their items on these sites. Policing the items available for sale on their sites is a real challenge for online marketplaces, but it’s also an important duty.

This was made dramatically clear in 1999 when a human kidney popped up on eBay. Though the site already had a policy that banned the sale of human organs, the kidney listing somehow made it past eBay’s security systems. Bidding reached over $5 million before eBay discovered it and ended the auction.

So what do you think?

On the one hand, consumers shouldn’t be using high-concentration bleaching products all by themselves. But on the other hand, the EU limit of 0.1% is incredibly low. Where is the happy medium?

Tooth Whitening Patient Value, According to Dentists

Tooth whitening patient value for dentistsThe value of a tooth whitening patient can vary significantly from practice to practice. Of course, this has a lot to with the teeth whitening options each dentist offers.

In The Wealthy Dentist's most recent survey, dentists reported an average production of about $450 per patient. Values ranged from $200 up to $700.

Tooth whitening patients may well end up needing additional dentistry. This can further increase their dental patient value.

Teeth whitening is an introduction to cosmetic dentistry for many patients. In addition, while cosmetics may bring a new patient into the dental practice, general and restorative dentistry can keep them there for years.

More Tooth Whitening Patient Articles from The Wealthy Dentist:

Teeth Whitening and the Cosmetic Dentist (video)

Tooth whitening and cosmetic dentistryTeeth whitening is quite popular, but the average dentist says it doesn't necessarily lead to more cosmetic dentistry.

This survey found that less than half of teeth bleaching patients go on to get additional work from their cosmetic dentist.

"With tooth whitening, there is only one answer: deep bleaching!" said one dentist who is enthusiastic about teeth whiteners. "Whitening and cosmetic dentistry go hand in hand. 95% of my highest earning cases are cosmetic."

Read more: Do Tooth Whitening Patients Get More Cosmetic Dentistry?

The Truth About the Demand for OTC Teeth Whitening Products

The Truth About the Demand for OTC Teeth Whitening ProductsOver-the-counter teeth whitening products are popping up everywhere online — even EBay — with many of these products coming from companies in China.

Often the teeth whitening treatments available online contain high levels of hydrogen peroxide, which can be damaging to teeth enamel.

Tooth whitening is typically a safe dental treatment when carried out by a dentist who can determine if the dental patient is a good candidate for teeth whitening.

Based on this influx of teeth whitening kits from oversees, The Wealthy Dentist conducted a survey asking dentists about the popularity of over-the-counter teeth whitening products.

43% of the dentist respondents have seen the demand for over-the-counter whiteners increase, while 35% feel dental patients have become less interested in over-the-counter treatments. 22% believe the demand for these products have remained steady.

Here’s what some dentists had to say about over-the-counter teeth whiteners —

“A lot of patients have whitened their teeth. It seems that the ones who wanted whiter teeth have already done it.” (Oklahoma dentist)

“Whitestrips have had a significant impact on our office’s billings for cosmetic procedures. Revenues are down as patients use these instead of chair-side and tray whitening.” (Georgia dentist)

“We have had many patient’s complain that over-the-counter whiteners did not whiten there teeth enough or did not whiten interproximally very well. Take-home professional whitening with trays is one of the best available because we can whiten the whole tooth on all surfaces to get the tooth the whitest in can be.” (Ohio prosthodontist)

“Best place for patients to start if they have had a dental exam to rule out contraindications to whitening.” (New York dentist)

“With over-the-counter products patients can run the risk of over-whitening their teeth and making them susceptible to brittleness and sensitivity which can lead to bigger issues down the road.” (General dentist)

“With the cost of in-office whitening treatments going down, we have seen the demand for over-the-counter whiteners decrease.” (Wisconsin dentist)

What has your experience with over-the-counter teeth whitening products? Are you seeing dental patients less interested in these products, or has demand remained steady?

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