Is Professional Teeth Whitening Worth It?

Pretty Brunette is Happy with her Teeth Whitening ResultsTeeth whitening is the most popular cosmetic dental treatment in the United States, says the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD). In fact, when the AACD conducted a cosmetic dentistry survey, an overwhelming majority of respondents said that the one aspect of their smile they’d be most interested in changing was the brightness of their teeth. Today’s consumers have a wide range of over-the-counter teeth whitening products to choose from, from toothpastes to strips. However, the American Dental Association and the AACD both recommend that the best, most reliable, and safest teeth whitening is the kind available from your family dentist.    

Are OTC Teeth Whiteners Safe?

We heard those brakes squealing! Rest assured that most teeth whitening products available at your local megamart are safe, especially when manufacturer’s directions for use are followed strictly. However, in a recent report on teeth whitening/bleaching, the American Dental Association’s Council on Scientific Affairs asserted that two potentially serious issues can arise when using commercial whitening products:

  1. Product abuse. OTC whiteners contain a lower concentration of active ingredients (usually hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide) than prescription-strength whitening products. As a result, many people overuse these products in an attempt to get dramatic results faster. Unfortunately, abusing/overusing teeth whitening products can irritate the gum tissues, cause tooth sensitivity, and damage the enamel.
  2. Concealing pre-existing dental issues. OTC teeth whitening can mask tooth discolorations caused by tooth decay or old, leaking dental work. In some cases, this has resulted in some dentists overlooking oral health issues that would have otherwise been visible.

Teeth Whitening with Your Dentist

When you opt for professional teeth whitening, your dentist will first perform an oral health examination and address problems. At-home whitening kits consist of custom-fitted whitening trays (that resemble a smaller, thinner mouth guard) that you fill with whitening gel and wear for a couple of hours every day. The personalized trays ensure that your gums stay protected and you can expect a smile that looks several shades whiter within 1-2 weeks.


Dr. Peddicord offers a complete range of preventative, cosmetic, and restorative dental procedures as well as high quality dental prosthetics. Dr. Peddicord can answer your inquiries, and provide the services you need to maintain the health, beauty, and function of your teeth. To schedule an appointment at Peddicord Family Dentistry, please contact us at 515-963-3339. Our Ankeny, IA dentist’s office proudly provides general and cosmetic dentistry services to patients from Bondurant, Polk City, Elkhart, Alleman, and Cambridge.