If you’ve been to a shopping mall recently, chances are you walked past booths offering “professional” teeth whitening in under an hour. They are usually decorated with scientific looking instruments, comfortable chairs and big blue lights to “speed up” the treatment.  You may be tempted to try a session for a mid-day shopping break, but we suggest you take a different detour. These bleaching services may not be worth your time or money.

 Any bleaching product that will work should contain a peroxide compound. This chemical oxidizes the “staining” molecules that are stuck in the dentin layer of your teeth, turning them more transparent/white. The American Dental Association recommends that any concentration over 10% hydrogen peroxide equivalent should be administered by a dental professional, to avoid burning or damaging the gum tissue.

It is important to understand that the employees operating these booths are not dental professionals. Therefore, they cannot be administering anything stronger than a Crest Whitestrip-type product. Some may claim that they use 35% bleach-- which is true, except they are using the significantly weaker carbamide peroxide instead of hydrogen peroxide.  

In some states, these bleaching booths have been shut down for practicing dentistry without a license. In response, their employees are not allowed to actually administer any part of the whitening. They are usually only allowed to hand you a bleach tray and tell you to position the light on your own. In this sense, you’re paying the price of an entire box of over-the-counter whitening products for a single treatment!

The ADA recommends that you talk with a dentist before performing any type of whitening treatment. Although this may seem trivial, it could save you hours of pain or headaches later. Don’t be fooled by the gimmicks or convenience of mall whitening. Over-the-counter products will get you real results for the same price. If you do want instant results, we provide that safely and effectively at our office. Our Zoom! whitening system is scientifically proven to lighten tooth shade in one treatment. If you would like to know more about bleaching systems, how they work, or any potential drawbacks, please call our office!