Dentist Questions Teeth Whitening

Are OTC products recommended for teeth whitening?

I went to a pharmacy the other day and there was a lot of OTC products available that claimed to whiten teeth teeth at home. Would you recommend them?

25 Answers

Although many OTC whitening products contain the active ingredient for whitening, hydrogen peroxide, they are often not high enough in concentration to make an appreciable difference. I never recommend against them, as they do not harm. I merely caution patients to have a realistic level of expectation. If it is not potent enough to achieve the desired results, my patients visit me for a professional version which gives far superior results. Good luck.
Dr. Cyril Tahtadjian
Whitening strips work. Whitening toothpaste is not effective unless you use it for a long time. That is a waste of money. If you want to whiten more than a little, go to the dentist for custom whitening trays and gel.
Some OTC bleach products do indeed work. Some have limitations as to how many teeth are covered, and some just simply work as well as others. I only “recommend” self treatment if I have already cleared the patient for safe bleaching. Be aware that if you proceed without being checked by your dentist first, you are doing it at your own risk. There can be unforeseen consequences as with any unsupervised “treatment“.
Some OTC products whiten but the ones provided by your dental professionals are usually more effective and safer.
There is a lot of hype surrounding OTC products that you need to be aware of. Typically if the product contains dioxides (usually titanium), it will work by polishing off the stain in the teeth by rubbing it off. We don't recommend these products because it can also wear away enamel while rubbing off the stain. Use products that have peroxide as an ingredient. Best option would be to get your dentist to safely whiten your teeth.
It’s not really advisable to use OTC whiteners.
Yes. Generally speaking many of the OTC prodcuts like strips compare favorably to professional products.
I do not recommend OTC whitening. Once your teeth have been whitened professionally OTC whitening may help keep your teeth whitened longer.
They are not harmful (that we know of), but also not as effective as professional strength products.
NO! I would not use OTC to whiten routinely, plus it become costly over time. Best to be sure you have no decay, have your Dentist make a special custom tray that you can use with special gel for many years . perhaps even using this same soft tray for the rest of your life to whiten. You can get gel refills at your dentist.
We recommend these all the time. Check with your dentist to make sure you have no contraindications.
For slight whitening-yes but please do not expect dramatic change in your teeth color
Many of these OTC products claim to whiten, however, they whiten very slowly. OTC products are based off of abrasiveness to remove stain and non prescription strength whitening chemicals which take more time for a noticible result.
I have no vested interest in the company, however, there is a product that is OTC known as Opalesence Go which I have seen many amazing results from. It is what I recommend to my patients who are not looking for immediate results.
It's definitely worth a try.
I have some patient that have used them and helped them. And some others that didn’t find any help. So everybody reacts differently.
Be careful of the cost. Usually, these are not recommended for gross whitening, and by the time you think there is a result, you have spent hundreds of dollars. Also, be careful of the blue cast that occurs to some whitening products. Ask the professionals. Products just go through the cosmetic act, which has no credentialing or ADA acceptance.
Some work better than others so trial and error is a course to follow. Professional bleaching is more reliable.
You are right, there are a lot of OTC whitening products. They all work to some degree. Most have a hydrogen peroxide base, and will do the job over a long period of time. The problem is the concentration or strength. They limit it in OTC products so people can't do to much harm to themselves. Professional whitening is always a better choice.
Most of those OTC whitening products are safe; although, excessive use of the whitening may cause tooth sensitivity so be prudent in your use of bleaching.
The best OTC is Crest WhiteStrips professional strength, but in-office products are better. We do ZOOM.

Yes just follow the directions of the manufacturer.
All whitening products work to some degree. Some only remove surface stains...and don’t really change the innate color of your teeth. In my opinion...the bleach must have some sort of carrier to stay on your teeth for the allotted amount of a strip or tray.
As long as any product in the US HAS the ADA stamp of approval is qualified for distribution with safe usage providing the patient follows instructions. Most damage occurs when most patients overuse the products in a zealous attempt to get results faster.