Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Making Sense of Over-the-counter Teeth Whiteners

Can you really get whiter teeth without spending a lot of time in a dentist chair?

A slew of over-the-counter whitening agents promise just that, but making sense of the various advertising claims can be confusing. The whiteners, which range in price from $10 to about $50, include paint-on whiteners, do-it-yourself dental trays and adhesive strips that you stick on your teeth. That is less expensive than the $300 to $800 charged by dentists for custom whitening trays or light-activated bleaching procedures.

Labeling differences can make some over-the-counter products sound stronger than they are. While the products are less expensive than professional treatments, it still may take three or four kits - for a total cost as high as $175 - to get the desired result.

Whether it is an at-home version or a pricey treatment offered by a dentist, all teeth-whitening treatments use peroxide to bleach teeth. The difference is in the concentration of the peroxide, how the agent is applied to the teeth, and how long it needs to be used.

Read the remainder of this good Wall Street Journal Article here.

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