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Whitening Strips: Give Your Patients the Full Picture

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What’s your response when patient’s ask about using over-the-counter (OTC) whitening strips? Are you adamantly against them or do you tell your patients to go for it?

Dr. Rod Kurthy, whitening science expert and founder and CEO of Evolve Dental Technologies, takes a more nuanced approach. He recognizes that OTC products can work pretty well for some people, such as “adult patients who are extremely susceptible to the whitening effects of peroxide, and teenagers whose teeth whiten quickly and easily.” Dr. Kurthy also acknowledges that for most people whitening strips won’t hurt and may even help a little.

However, Dr. Kurthy also is familiar with the fact that some people overuse OTC whitening strips. You know, more is better, right? Uh, no.

The reason overuse is bad is because of the chemical stabilizers (often phosphoric acid) manufacturers have to use to stop the hydrogen peroxide in the strips from breaking down too soon. The result, for those people who overuse the strips, is acid erosion.

So, the next time a patient asks about OTC whitening strips, take a few minutes to explain the good, the neutral, and the bad. Caution against overuse and perhaps recommend a more consistent and predictable approach, such as whitening with an evidence-based product like the KöR Whitening System.

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