Here’s Why Drugstore Whitening Products Don’t Work as Well as In-Office Treatments

Yellowing or graying teeth yellowing are a normal part of aging, but one that surprises many people. We just don’t expect our smiles to lose their sparkle! But, you can restore your smile so that it reflects how you feel better. 

The experts at Santa Monica Bay Dental in Santa Monica, California, have helped thousands of area residents get the bright smiles they want. We understand that choosing a whitening treatment option can be confusing. So many options are available, and they are offered at a wide range of price points. 

There are several key differences between the kits you buy over the counter and the whitening treatments performed in our office. Here we’ll explain some of those differences so that you have more information to help you make a decision that works for you. 

Toothpaste, trays, rinses, oh my! 

The first decision to make is what kind of whitening treatments to consider. Generally speaking, you’re not going to see much, if any, difference using a whitening toothpaste or rinse versus using a regular toothpaste. We want to encourage you to brush your teeth and follow good dental hygiene practices, of course, but don’t expect much in the way of whitening. 

Products like Crest Whitestrips can whiten your teeth — a little. But, they are somewhat difficult to use and are only for your front teeth. 

Our office offers Zoom! from Phillips, which is a combination of approaches including a specialized gel application and light acceleration. The result is a smile that is as much as eight times brighter. 


One reason you might be considering an over-the-counter option is accessibility. Twenty-four hour drugstores let you purchase a kit at your convenience. 

Getting your teeth whitened in our office does require an appointment. However, we maintain that a better treatment is worth the small hassle of making an appointment. 

Safety is important

When you purchase an over-the-counter product, you may be able to read the list of ingredients, but you may not know what those ingredients do. The chemical makeup of the whitening solution may be too weak to really do much good, or it may contain ingredients that can increase the sensitivity of your teeth. 

When you come to us for whitening treatments, we first evaluate the health of your teeth, then recommend an appropriate treatment. We’ have thoroughly evaluated the safety and efficiency of the Zoom! from Phillips treatments and know that they are safe, effective, and won’t make your teeth more sensitive. 

Overuse is possible

If you use an over-the-counter product and you like the result, but want your teeth to be a little whiter, it’s natural to think another kit might do the trick. That can lead to overuse and damage to your oral health, though. 

After your initial whitening in our office, you can use at-home kits that we provide for touch-ups. We make sure you have the best product for your situation, and provide guidance on how often you may need touch-ups. 

If you’d like to learn more about the benefits of having your teeth professionally whitened, book an appointment at Santa Monica Bay Dental. Our number is 310-453-8606, and we’ll be happy to schedule an appointment. 

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