Teeth Whitening (At Home vs. In-Office)

Teeth Whitening (At Home vs. In-Office)

Teeth Whitening Patient

If you don’t feel confident when you smile because you have stained or yellow teeth, you may find that using whitening products is a great way to get your confidence back. Tooth whitening involves applying lightening or bleaching solutions to the teeth to attack the organic molecules that settle between the crystals of tooth enamel, or within the layer just below. This sounds great, but the once you’ve decided to try it, should you whiten your teeth at home, or with a professional?

Whitening Your Teeth At Home

The major pro to whitening your teeth at home is that you don’t need to make an appointment, so you can whiten whenever and wherever you choose. Many at-home products are very affordable, but it is often because the dosage of effective ingredient is relatively low. Over the counter products use abrasives or low doses of bleaching agents. You can choose from easy to use whitening rinses, whitening toothpastes, gel strips, or trays. These products can all help with surface staining but take much longer to see results than professional treatments. Rinses are great to help prevent new stains after you whiten your teeth, but unfortunately don’t pack a strong punch when it comes to removing existing ones. The trays sold in at-home kits aren't custom-made, so they're much more likely to rub and irritate your gums. Make sure you follow the directions on the package carefully. Some people find it tempting to leave whitening strips on longer than the recommended time to get “quicker” results, but this leads to painful and irritated gums that may require treatment. These products may also increase sensitivity, especially if your teeth are naturally sensitive.

Professional In-Office Whitening

Professional solutions used by your dentist are typically stronger than those in over-the-counter kits, so your teeth may whiten more dramatically and much more quickly. Because your dentist supervises the procedure, a stronger bleaching solution can be used than what's found in home kits. The high strength bleaching agents safely whiten your teeth even below the enamel. Your dentist can also use desensitizing products to avoid tooth sensitivity. At-home kits do not always ensure you will receive even coloration across your entire mouth. If you have composite or porcelain dental crowns, they may not whiten with the rest of your teeth. Your dentist can prevent unevenness from occurring and provide an exact match to your dental structure. In-office whitening takes the guess work out of the process, since you’re under the care of an experienced professional.

Depending on your dental health history and your goals, either method, or a combination, may be best for you. Talk to your dentist first. You deserve to smile freely!