A simple online search will reveal so many “ideas” for at-home teeth whitening – from using a baking soda concoction to activated charcoal toothpaste and even oil pulling. Unfortunately, evidence for the effectiveness of most DIY whitening methods is limited.
Not only will DIY teeth whitening results often be unsatisfactory, there’s also a risk of causing serious tooth enamel damage.
So, can you carry out teeth whitening at home to get the same outcome you’ll see in a dental clinic? Let’s check out a few important differences between the two approaches and the reasons why you should leave the creating of a perfect smile to the professionals.
DIY Teeth Whitening From the Pantry: What Could Go Wrong?
There are specialised products for at-home teeth whitening (strips, gels, toothpaste) and these are typically safe, as long as they’re used correctly. Such products feature a lower concentration of an active ingredient than the solutions intended for professional use at a dental office. Still, they can deliver some degree of brightening.
Very often, however, people will use recipes based on products and ingredients available in one’s pantry. Baking soda and vinegar rank among the most popular DIY teeth whitening ingredients. While these ingredients appear harmless, they can have a lasting negative consequence on oral health.
If overused or applied too vigorously, such DIY teeth whitening products can damage the gums and the enamel. Gum infection is a possible complication and when left untreated, it can eventually lead to gum disease.
Baking soda is quite abrasive. The particles give you the result by “stripping” the colour from teeth. In the process, however, enamel erosion can also occur. This erosion is often linked to tooth sensitivity. Not only that, the erosion of the enamel increases the risk of teeth yellowing in the future. Many people who opt for DIY treatments find out that these have to be applied fairly often to maintain the pearliness of teeth.
Professional Whitening: Is It a Good Choice for You
Some people avoid professional teeth whitening because they worry about the cost of the procedure.
When you think about it, however, getting your teeth whitened by an experienced dentist focusing on dental aesthetics with past results to show will prove to be more economical in the long run compared to a DIY solution.
If you’d like to learn a bit more about professional teeth whitening and how it works, please check out this video that we put together on the topic:
Professional teeth whitening usually gives you better results than at-home kits. You can achieve several shades of lightening – something that’s impossible at the concentration of active ingredients featured in products for DIY use.
Anyone who has very stained teeth should consider a dental consultation before wasting a lot of money on gels, toothpastes and UV kits for at-home use.
In addition, dental professionals can offer customised treatments in line with the respective patient’s needs. Your dentist will examine the condition of your teeth and inquire about the lightening effect you want to achieve. Based on this information, they’ll determine what type of teeth whitening will deliver the best outcome. Such customisation isn’t possible when going the DIY route and as a result, the outcome will often look unnatural.
Not only will your teeth look better after professional whitening, the results will also be maintained for a longer period of time. Professional teeth whitening results will last at least a few years if you adhere to a proper oral hygiene procedure (brushing, flossing, using mouthwash). A dental professional can also recommend products for follow-up care that will increase the longevity of the outcome and reduce the need for further visits to the clinic.
These combined effects actually make professional whitening safer, easier and more affordable in the long run. In addition, the visit to the dental clinic can help you pinpoint other problems or intrinsic reasons for the teeth discolouration. Through a proper diagnosis and a customised treatment, you will maintain a brighter smile for longer while also optimising your oral health.