Tooth Whitening


Tooth Whitening Moving from the Dentist’s to the Grocery Store

Consumers love tooth whitening, but more and more are choosing home bleaching over in-office laser bleaching. Two out of three dentists have noted a decline, finds a survey by The Wealthy Dentist.

Teeth Whitening and BleachingDecember 27, 2008 (San Francisco, California) Two out of three dentists feel consumers are less interested in in-office tooth whitening due to over-the-counter teeth bleaching products, found a poll by dental marketing resource The Wealthy Dentist. "We can't seem to give it away at 50% off!" complained a Massachusetts dentist.

On the other hand, one out of six felt there had been no change, and another one out of six actually felt whiteners available at the grocery store or pharmacy had actually increased demand for professional tooth bleaching.

Some doctors reluctantly acknowledged that OTC whiteners do work, but of course they’re not as effective as laser bleaching. "OTC methods are good maintenance products for after in-office bleaching," suggested an Illinois dentist. A Utah dentist added, "If a patient is obviously concerned with our fee for whitening, I recommend that they try bleaching strips or whatever. I explain that the
effectiveness of whitening depends on concentration and length of time on the teeth, and why our procedure is better than over-the-counter solutions. I leave it up to them to decide."

The fact is, consumers love whiter teeth. "Our in-office whitening business continues to increase, even in the face of a recession," gushed a New York cosmetic dentist. "We find people would rather come for a whitening than a dental cleaning. We’ve done specials offering free cleanings
with whitening to boost interest. It’s been very successful." A Texas dentist agreed, saying, "Patients who have interest in whitening talk about it, creating more interest in the procedure. Ultimately, we dentists are asked about whitening."

Home bleaching can actually be good for a dental practice’s business. "When the home whitening products first came out, I noticed a decrease in in-office bleaching," said a Washington dentist. "Now the level seems to remain pretty constant. Over-the-counter bleaching often stimulates interest in other cosmetic treatments, especially when the patient does not get the result they want from whitening."

From a dental practice management standpoint, maybe it’s not such a bad thing. "This is good!" raved an Illinois dentist. "Bleaching was an income-neutral purchase, and patients who want whiter teeth or a prettier smile are ready for veneers. Many patients move to ceramic restorations after being
disappointed with bleaching. Less wasted consults for more net income."

"Tooth whitening has become an essential part of cosmetic dentistry," said Jim Du Molin, dental management consulting expert and founder of dental marketing company The Wealthy Dentist. “But as home methods become more effective, more and
more people will be tempted to skip the dentist’s office.”

Du Molin invites readers to visit his blog at and comment on this survey.


Visit for more Wealthy Dentist survey results on topics such as cosmetic dentistry, dental implants, sleep dentistry, TMJ, and braces. Plus, sign up for Jim Du Molin’s free video training program on dental website marketing.


Jim Du Molin

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