I got an offer through Groupon for a product called Premium Home Whitening, for whitening your teeth. Is this a worthwhile product?
– Ann from Arkansas
I looked at their website, and I have a couple of comments.
First, their teeth whitening agent is 35% carbamide peroxide. This is a valid whitening agent – it will whiten your teeth. And, with the exception of the “cold blue light” that they add to the process, which I don’t believe will accelerate anything, I don’t see any hocus-pocus in the technique or the products they offer. However, I can’t endorse what they are doing for a couple of reasons.
First, their price is kind of high. They are charging $158.00 for the whitening kit. While some dentists charge more than this (some charge a lot more), some charge less. If your dentist charges more than this and you just don’t want to pay that fee, I’d just shop around for another dentist. Sometime, just after you’ve had your teeth cleaned and checked, just call around. Tell the new office you’ve just had a cleaning and an exam and just need the whitening. How much would it be? Go to that dentist for your whitening, and back to your regular dentist for your other care. Or, another approach would be to level with your dentist. If it were me, I would just say, ‘Hey, I found this offer for a kit I can buy for $158, and I read comments by a dentist online who said this would really whiten my teeth. If you can come down on your fee to something close to that, I’ll get it from you.”
You see, there are two problems with buying this kit over-the-counter. The first is the tray that they make is not going to fit nearly as closely as the one a dentist will make for you. So you are going to have a lot of leakage, which causes three problems. First, there is a reduction in effectiveness when the tray leaks. Second, you waste a lot of gel, which drives up the cost even more. Third, there is a greater chance of irritating the gums.
And then there is the safety issue. I published a report a couple of years ago of a woman who needed a root canal on her front tooth because of the side effects of an over-the-counter whitening system. It’s always best to use this kind of thing under professional supervision. There are issues about existing dental work, exposed root surfaces, open margins on fillings, etc., that should be checked before starting whitening.
For those reasons, you are much better off getting this service from a dentist. You do not need an expert cosmetic dentist for most routine whitening cases – this is one area of cosmetic dentistry where almost any dentist will do.
– Dr. Hall
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