Teeth whitening has become an increasingly popular cosmetic treatment for many people who want to improve the brilliance and shine of their smile. In this blog post, we’ll examine some of the pros and cons of different teeth whitening options and discuss some ways that dental practices can compete effectively against over-the-counter whitening options.
According to a recent report, the global teeth whitening market was estimated to be $6.9 billion in 2021 and is expected to grow by an average of 5.0% until 2030. As the market for teeth whitening expands, individuals have even more options for teeth whitening, including both professional services at a dental practice and at-home kits and tools.
The Difference Between In-Office and At-Home Whitening
While there are many over-the-counter options for whitening at home, dental practices can offer patients superior results. By marketing your practice’s teeth whitening services and custom trays you can remain competitive in the market.
One of the main differences between professional teeth whitening and at-home whitening is concentration and coverage. At-home whitening strips only cover a small part of your teeth, typically just the front. They also typically only cover the front visible teeth. Additionally, at-home whitening strips have a lower concentration of gel, leaving them almost completely ineffective. Teeth whitening works through time and exposure, so at-home strips will require much more time and much more product to achieve the same results as professional whitening. By contrast, professional whitening with a dentist comes with higher concentration gel products, better coverage, and faster results.
Rather than having to use at-home strips for an hour a day for a few days, professional whitening can work faster and less expensive to achieve the same or typically better results. The first method of professional whitening is in-office whitening. A provider isolates the gums to protect them and then applies a concentrated bleach on the teeth for about 45 minutes to an hour. Another option for professional whitening is custom trays. A provider first creates trays that are custom fitted to a patient’s jaw from impression molds. Then a special whitening gel is applied to the trays for an hour a day for 7 to 14 days until you get the desired result.
A third option is a type of premade single-use disposable tray that is preloaded with whitening gel. Although similar to whitening strips that are not very effective for reasons already stated, these disposable trays cover the front and back of teeth and have a layer of whitening gel preloaded in them very much like custom trays as opposed to just having a small amount of material dispensed from a whitening strip.
How to Compete with Retail Teeth Whitening
To compete with over-the-counter teeth whitening options, dental practices should be proactive in their marketing efforts. This includes sending out email blasts to patients about the benefits of in-office whitening and informing them about the long-term benefits of custom trays. You can also attract patients to professional whitening options by showing before-and-after images of teeth whitening in your office and in your marketing materials.
Regardless of how you promote your teeth whitening services externally, it is important for dental practices to inform patients about the relative benefits and downsides of each option and to have a conversation to help them feel comfortable about their decision. While in-office whitening can offer immediate results, it can be costly and require more treatments over time. Custom trays can be used indefinitely and just need to be replenished by purchasing more gel. They also offer patients the flexibility to whiten their teeth at their own pace.
Despite the competition and aggressive marketing of over-the-counter whitening options, dental clinics offer higher quality, more convenience, and longer-lasting results. Through proactive marketing and transparent discussions with patients about the benefits, dental clinics can stay competitive in the teeth whitening market and ensure their patients are happy with the results.
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