Teeth Whitening: Are Whitening Strips Effective?

by Joe Bulger DDS

Are Whitening Strips effective for Teeth Whitening?

Teeth Whitening - are Whitening Strips Effective? Are Whitening Strips effective?

In a previous post we talked about how easy and convenient it would be if Whitening Toothpaste worked. You’re already brushing, so adding a Whitening component would be perfect, right?

Unfortunately, convenience doesn’t always translate into effectiveness.

The question isn’t whether Whitening Strips work or not. They do. The question is whether or not they’re effective enough to be worth your while.

Here’s the skinny…

Best Teeth Whitening Results…

Everyone wants to have the best teeth whitening results. They also want it to be quick, painless and affordable.

There are different paths to get you to a whiter brighter smile. Each choice has advantages and drawbacks. I’ll cover more of that on my next post about Teeth Whitening Options and Costs.

The Strips will whiten your teeth if you have the time to fuss with them. You have to be willing to put up with more hassle and more pain to get an equivalent result.

If they were the only game in town as far as Whitening goes I would be far more enthusiastic as a Toronto Teeth Whitening Dentist. However, I think Whitening Strips are the weakest of the 3 decent options for Teeth Whitening. The other two being the Home Teeth Whitening Trays and Laser Teeth Whitening.

What You Can Expect with Whitening Strips

I’ve had patients do a decent job of it with the Strips, and I’ve had many patients abandon them out of frustration.

It will take longer to get a decent result. You may have to pay for extra kits, which adds more to your cost. Since the cost factor is the only benefit of the strips, this kind of defeats the purpose of using them.

Your teeth and gums may get sore. Your gums can get chemical burns from the peroxide and the pores of your teeth will be left wide open. As far as I know, the Whitening Strips do not have formulas that contain desensitizing agents. You certainly can’t manage sensitive teeth like you can with the Custom Whitening Trays.

Here’s the kicker. The trays can be used post-whitening to apply fluoride gel, which is very effective at reducing any sensitivity. When you have less sensitivity, you can persist longer with the whitening and do a better job of it. One of the big reasons people stop using Whitening Strips is they can’t stand the pain any more. That’s why the strips don’t usually give the best teeth whitening results.

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Toronto Teeth Whitening Dentist Abandons Strips

I bought a case of the strips for the odd patient who wanted a low-cost alternative to tray whitening.

I ended up throwing out almost the entire lot. I tried some on myself and found it a complete waste of time in comparison to the trays.

That odd patient who actually chose the Whitening Strips was inevitably unhappy with the results. As a Toronto Teeth Whitening Dentist, an unhappy patient is NEVER a good thing no matter how low the price was for those Strips.

Everyone loves a bargain, but not if the results don’t measure up.

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Are Whitening Strips or Custom Trays for You?

Ultimately it’s your call. It’s your health, your smile and your future.

Still up for the challenge of Whitening Strips?

I tell patients to go ahead and try them if they like. They’re always welcome to upgrade to the Custom Whitening Trays afterward.

Most come to the realization their time is too valuable to waste on something that might not deliver the best teeth whitening results. Others make an attempt and quickly realize a bargain is not always a bargain.

One final thought. I find that some of the biggest fans of the Custom Whitening Trays are those who previously wasted money and time on the Strips.

Signature for a Toronto Cosmetic Dentist.

Dr. Joe :)

Dr. Joe Bulger

About the Author: is a West Toronto dentist. He’s also the founder of Royal York Dental – a respected dental clinic serving Etobicoke since 1950.

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

1 roxyd32 August 31, 2010 at 2:33 pm

I appreciate this blog. It’s funny, recently a friend of mine was all gung ho about getting whitening strips. I advised her against it as my previous Dentist never truly recommended it. Having said that, I wasn’t sure why he was not supportive of whitening strips. With your blog, which is new found information for me, now at least, I can continue to hold my ground and provide true reasonings for why the strips are not the best alternative.


2 Toronto-Etobicoke Dentist - Joe Bulger August 31, 2010 at 4:38 pm

“Do-it-yourself with the Strips and save a bundle” sounds like a brilliant idea. So does doing my own oil changes for the car. Who needs all that fuss and mess?

The real question is – what is your time worth?

Joe 😀


3 Michael Aviado September 7, 2010 at 2:19 pm

I’ve tried those teeth whitening strips. Funny thing is that I get a sharp pain when I do use them… feels like something is penetrating my teeth and making them more sensitive. Is that normal?


4 Toronto-Etobicoke Dentist - Joe Bulger September 7, 2010 at 7:32 pm

Hi Michael. The pain you describe is exactly what Whitening does to your teeth. That means it’s working to open up and clean out the micro-pores of your enamel. With trays it’s easier to desensitize. With strips you’ll just have to take a break until the teeth can recover.

Joe 😀


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6 Karan Gupta November 22, 2016 at 11:21 am

Everyone wants to have the best teeth whitening results. Try Opus Dental Specialities for quick, painless and affordable teeth whitening.


7 Radhika Wadhwa November 29, 2016 at 11:56 am

Home teeth-whitening kits have become quite popular in recent years as they can offer an affordable solution for enhancing our appearance.


8 Sonia January 30, 2017 at 2:14 pm

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