Pros and Cons of Whitening Strips

Over the counter whitening strips have become big business during the past ten years.  In the beginning using these strips was a time consuming process but as manufacturing technology became more sophisticated, now whitening your teeth can be done in a matter of minutes. No matter which brand you select most meet their advertised selling points, but just like everything else on the market these days educate yourself to the pros and cons before using these strips on a regular basis.


  • For the majority of people whitening strips do make their teeth whiter without any major side effects or problems.
  • Whitening strips are convenient, easy to use and fairly inexpensive. No prescription is required and they can be purchased at just about any grocery store, pharmacy or big box store.
  • The time requirement is minimal. Depending on the brand selected it can take as little as five minutes or up to thirty. Because the strips adhere snuggly to the teeth, you can spend that time doing just about any other activity including watching television, exercising or cleaning house.


  • Occasionally the adhesive fails, making the strip(s) unusable.
  • Overusing the strips or leaving them on too long can damage the tooth enamel.
  • Often tooth and/or gum sensitivity occurs.
  • Depending on what caused the stains, whitening strips may not work. Discoloration because of poor oral hygiene, tetracycline antibiotics taken as a child, as well trauma to the tooth, will not be removed by over the counter whitening strips. In fact, many times these stains will look darker against the rest of the freshly whitened teeth.

In conclusion, these strips can be effective but as with any other over the counter product, read and follow all directions. If you experience any discomfort or other problems immediately stop using and if the problems continue, please contact Dr. Ellis immediately.