One of the most common questions we hear in our office about whitening is, “What’s the difference between those whitening spas or the mall kiosks and the whitening products used at your office?” There is a lot of information available on this topic by searching the web but to be able to give you the best information available, I went straight to the American Dental Association’s website.
For one thing, a lot of whitening spas and kiosks don’t have a licensed dentist on site. Mall kiosks and beauty salons that offer whitening but do not have a licensed dentist on staff are under strict regulations not to touch the patient. They hand the trays containing the whitening gel to the patient, who inserts the trays themselves, and then move the light over the patient’s mouth all while carefully avoiding any contact. The ADA issues this advice for people looking into teeth whitening:
“The ADA advises patients to consult with their dentists to determine the most appropriate treatment. This is especially important for patients with many fillings, crowns, and extremely dark stains. A thorough oral examination, performed by a licensed dentist, is essential to determine if bleaching is an appropriate course of treatment. The dentist then supervises the use of bleaching agents within the context of a comprehensive, appropriately sequenced treatment plan.”
Also, the quality of the ingredients in the whitening products that are used are of utmost importance. The products that dentists dispense and use for teeth whitening bear the ADA seal of acceptance. Oftentimes, this cannot be said about spas and kiosks that offer whitening.
We also contacted BriteSmile Professional Whitening to ask them what the difference is between the spas and having professional teeth whitening at a dental office. The representative I spoke to told me that although they share the same name, they are not associated with the whitening spas, and offered this statement: “Only a licensed dentist can get your teeth their whitest and can know how you will react to the procedure. At an associated center office you are under the care and supervision of a dentist for the duration of the procedure, ensuring you the best care possible. If Britesmile won’t work for you, or if there are other underlying conditions that are discovered during your oral exam, a dentist can offer alternative procedures and services so that you can be sure you will get the best results.”
Another thing worth mentioning is the quality of care during the procedure. The mall kiosks and dental spas offer a very speedy service. While Brite Smile Professional does advertise their product as a 1-hour procedure, oftentimes the extra care and examination at our office can make the procedure last longer. When we do in-office whitening, we take the utmost care to ensure you get the best results possible. What this means is, when you come in for your whitening procedure we will not shuffle you in and out the door, we will spend the time necessary to give you the best whitening results.
And finally, we’d like to point out the obvious, yet often overlooked, importance of proper sterilization techniques. Only a licensed dentist with an OSHA regulated practice can ensure that proper safety and sterilization techniques are enforced in the materials and barrier methods used during your procedure.
Before you choose a whitening procedure, please think about what is in your best interest: trusting your teeth to a person in a white coat in the mall applying a no-name brand of whitening gel or having it done by a licensed and experienced dentist?