One question we get quite often is, “Do the tooth whitening kits from the drug store work as well as the more expensive professional ones you get at a dental office?” The answer to the question is that the drug-store kits, such as Crest White Strips do work for some people, but can be cumbersome as they are not custom fitted.
Over-the-counter (OTC) whitening systems use Hydrogen Peroxide as their active ingredient. This is the same active ingredient used in many of the professional tooth whitening systems but in a much lower concentration. With commercial white strips, this relatively low concentration of hydrogen peroxide is mixed into a glycerine gel, which forms the gel on the backside of the application strips.
The main difference between the OTC systems and the professional systems is the way in which the chemically active gel is applied to the teeth. The professional systems use a custom-made “tray” that holds the hydrogen peroxide gel in contact with the teeth and minimizes the gel contacting the gum tissue. The tray is a thin flexible shell of clear plastic that gently rests over the teeth and forms a seal along the gum line.