Can I Trust Ads for Discounted Teeth Whitening?

I’ve been getting Groupon e-mails weekly for at-home teeth whitening products and teeth whitening specials with dentists. Do these really work? I’ve always wanted to have a really white smile, and now it looks like I can do it affordably. How do I know if it’s not a waste of money? – Karla R. from San Antonio


Thank you for your question.

At-home teeth whitening products are becoming increasingly popular. Some of the products contain 35% carbamide peroxide, which will whiten your teeth.

Still, be careful. Getting teeth whitening from your dentist has many advantages, even if you decide to get a take-home kit from your dentist. Factors to consider:

  • Types of stains – The American Dental Association confirms that teeth whitening does not work with all types of stains. Depending on the cause of the stains, the bleaching gel may not correct them and can even can make the stains more noticeable.
  • Whether you have dental restorations – A dentist needs to check existing dental work on your teeth, including crowns, veneers, and bonding, before starting the teeth whitening process. Bleaching your teeth can make them whiter than the restorations, and you will have mismatched results.
  • Custom bleaching trays – Your dentist will provide you with customized trays for your teeth. The trays help you avoid wasting the gel or irritating your gums from bleaching gel that oozes out of the trays.
  • Progress checks – Your dentist can monitor the progress of the teeth whitening and adjust your treatment as needed.

Be cautious about the products that you use. Talk with your dentist about the coupons you have seen and discuss the cost. Your dentist might be willing to work with your budget so that you can get your teeth safely whitened.

Plano, Texas dentist Dr. Miranda Lacy sponsors this post.