We’ve all seen them – the ubiquitous strips infused with whitening material you can buy from every over-the-counter drug store. They’re not cheap – but these products have become one of the most enduring and popular purchases in the $300M annual teeth whitening industry today.
Are whitening strips effective? These products are simply strips of plastic designed to adhere to the teeth for several hours. At their mildest, these strips provide only 2-4% carbamide peroxide concentration. At their best, professional strength strips provide 7-14% bleach formulation, and the higher concentrations tend to be accompanied by a much higher price.
In contrast, a professional level whitening kit from a cosmetic dentist or from a spa service provides a custom fit tray together with 22 % carbamide peroxide whitening gel. A dentist’s kit may cost $300-400; in contrast, an equivalent kit from a professional service such as Shine may cost no more than several boxes of strips.
The most obvious difference between whitening strips and custom teeth whitening kits is that it takes much longer to achieve for an over-the-counter bleaching strip to produce the equivalent result to a professional strength bleaching solution used together with a set of custom fit trays.
The main advantage to the strips, quite honestly, is that since you don’t need to take an impression, you can purchase the strips, take them home and use them right away. The primary complaints clients have about strips is that they slip, can sometimes feel gritty, and they are often too short to effectively whiten all of the upper teeth that show when the client smiles. These are definite disadvantages!
Regardless of the drawbacks, teeth bleaching strips continue to be a top seller among over-the-counter remedies. However, for clients who are ready to attain a serious level of whitening, they are far from the most effective at-home remedies available today.