Teeth Whitening at Home VS Dentist Office Whitening (The Difference, Answered)

How do over-the-counter teeth-whitening products compare to professional teeth-whitening at a teeth whitening dentist office?

Is it worth the extra cost to visit the dentist? Is there much difference between teeth whitening at home vs dentist whitening treatments? We’re going to break that down for you in this post.

Teeth whitening is one of the most popular cosmetic dentistry treatments. For that reason, you have a lot of options which can make choosing the right one for you difficult. Let’s examine how the at home vs dentist office options vary.

Dentist Office Whitening

In-office teeth whitening is performed by trained dental professionals which means you’ll get safe and reliable results. The results you’ll get from professionally administered whitening tend to be better because dentists have access to higher-concentration bleaching gels. There are a number of different in-office whiteners and we offer two outstanding solutions: the revolutionary Zoom!® teeth whitening system and the KöR Whitening Deep Bleaching™ System.

At our cosmetic dentistry practice, we are able to brighten teeth up to 10 shades in under an hour with the in-office Zoom!® teeth whitening system or up to 16 shades with the KöR Whitening Deep Bleaching™ System. Our dentists can also provide custom-made whitening trays as part of a take-home teeth-whitening kit.

Zoom!® teeth whitening is ideal for those who wish to achieve dramatic results after a quick one-time session. The procedure is virtually painless, and many of our patients find the (approximately) 45-minute session provides a relaxing break from their busy schedules. You can sit back and relax while enjoying music on our headsets or watching a Netflix on-demand movie or Apple TV.

The process begins with the application of a specially formulated, hydrogen-peroxide-based gel to the surfaces of the teeth, which are carefully isolated to protect the gums. Teeth can be up to 10 shades brighter and can last for years with proper care.

The Zoom!® system is particularly effective at removing superficial stains that persist after a professional dental cleaning. Because the gel penetrates the enamel of the teeth, it can also dramatically lighten and sometimes even eliminate deeper stains, such as those left by dark-colored beverages.

The KöR system produces more dramatic results than any other tooth-whitening treatment on the market, even whitening teeth suffering from tetracycline stains (veneers were the only option before). The KöR system reduces or eliminates such stains, enabling the patient’s natural teeth to be preserved. Even people with highly sensitive teeth can be ideal candidates.

The KöR whitening process begins with a laboratory-fabricated tray that will be customized to fit comfortably in your mouth. It is filled with the proprietary KöR whitening gel and worn while you sleep over a two-week span. Then in the office, our dental professionals will apply the finishing touches to your teeth. Post-treatment your teeth will be up to 16 shades brighter.

At-Home Whitening

At-home teeth whitening is a do-it-yourself alternative to professional teeth whitening that typically costs less than professionals solutions you’d get at your dentist’s office. You should be aware that at-home whitening products have lower concentrations of hydrogen peroxide so they rarely offer the same degree of shade changes that you would get from whiteners that your dentist uses. If you’re looking for a slight whitening effect, these can help but if you’re looking for a more extreme whitening effect you’re going to be frustrated by the results you get at home.

Some of your at-home whitening options include teeth whitening strips, boil & bite whitening trays, LED teeth whitening pens, and custom fitted whitening trays. We’re not including things like whitening toothpaste because we find that people don’t experience very reliable results using that alone.

Teeth whitening strips are adhesive strips you apply to your teeth 1-2 times per day for anywhere from 30-120 minutes depending on the brand. You can expect this at-home teeth whitening method to make your teeth about 2-4 shades whiter. A common complaint about this method is uneven results because the strips can’t get into the crevices of the teeth.

Boil & bite whitening trays are standard, non-custom trays that you put into boiling water for a period of time to allow the material to soften. After you dry the tray, it is placed in the mouth and you bite down until the material hardens. By going through this process, you get a somewhat custom tray that you can fill with whitening gel but it can be difficult to get an accurate impression of your teeth this way. People do complain about inconsistent results with this method but it is better than whitening strips. You can expect this method to make your teeth about 2-4 shades whiter.

Another option for at-home whitening is LED teeth whitening pens. The teeth whitening pen is tipped with a brush that you use to apply the whitening gel evenly across the frontal upper and lower teeth. Once applied, you’ll insert a protective tray to guard your lips from coming into contact with the whitening gel. Finally, insert the LED whitening light for 15-30 minutes to accelerate the whitening gel. You can expect this method to make your teeth about 3-6 shades whiter so it is slightly more effective than the whitening trays and the whitening strips.

You could also order custom whitening trays from an online retailer. The retailer will send you a kit with instructions so that you can provide them with an impression of your teeth that they’ll use to shape and build your trays. Once you ship the impression back to the company, you’ll receive your trays and whitening gel within a few weeks and you can start using them. This method can make your teeth about 5-8 shades whiter depending on the frequency of the treatments.

Anyone can whiten their teeth at home which is both good and bad. It’s good because it’s incredibly convenient but it’s bad because if you have oral health issues, you may end up causing yourself intense pain and damaging your teeth and gums. Dentists will not provide whitening to patients who do not pass a basic oral health screening.

If you’re debating teeth whitening at home vs dentist treatments, consider the results you’re after. Most at-home treatments can make your teeth 2-8 shades whiter with frequent use which is not an extreme difference. If you’d rather not have to continuously do these whitening treatments yourself or if you’re after better results, visiting a teeth whitening dentist office is going to be the best choice for you.

If you’d like your teeth to be 10-16 shades whiter and you’d like a quick and convenient solution, click here to learn more about our in-office whitening services.



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