Experts say some teeth-whitening products can produce dramatic results. The vast majority agree that in-office professional teeth whitening by your dentist is most effective, but opinions vary widely on whether over-the-counter strips, pastes, chewing gum, trays and paint-on liquids really work.
A few reputable over-the-counter brands dominate the market, but shady companies continue to try to weasel out a share of the pie. As we reported, the Better Business Bureau has received hundreds of complaints about Celebrity Sexy Teeth as well as about Ivory White, Bella Bright and Ortho White. Some customers say they were charged as much as $78 after getting what they believed to be a free sample; customers were unwittingly signed up for a program whereby their credit cards were charged every month. Other reported scams involve Dazzle White, White Smile, Teeth Smile and Dazzle Smile.
Although several of these products have been discontinued or renamed, scams like this remain widespread. To make sure you're buying a whitening product from a legitimate company, buy it through reputable online stores such as Drugstore.com or your local bricks-and-mortar retailer.
Reviewers and other experts agree that, although expensive, professional teeth whitening is the most effective and convenient way to brighten your smile. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends this method as well, saying it's preferable to have any teeth-whitening process supervised by a dentist. That's because a dentist can examine your mouth for any underlying problems (cavities, gum disease, etc.) and determine whether you are a good candidate for teeth whitening.
There are a couple of different options if you choose this route, and your dentist can help you choose the one that's right for you. Aside from professional whitening, the effectiveness of over-the-counter, teeth-whitening products can vary depending on the product being used and the person using it.
Best reviewed products discussed in this report were chosen based on how well they perform, whether they are easy to use and how safe they are based on information and testing done by both professionals and owner reviewers. ConsumerSearch ranks each source based on how thoroughly teeth whiteners are tested and how many products are compared.