In-Office Whitening vs Home Whitening Is it better to pay a visit to your dentist for teeth whitening or should you try at-home products to whiten your teeth? We have outlined the differences so you can compare your options for a whiter, brighter smile.
How White Can Whiteners Make My Teeth? No matter whether you book an in-office whitening procedure or you use an at-home whitening solution, the whitening agent can only make your teeth as white as your natural tooth colour. This is determined by the thickness of your enamel and how yellow the dentine is underneath it. Whiteners can remove food, coffee, and wine stains from your teeth’s enamel, but they can’t stop yellowed dentine from showing through thin enamel. What Are the Active Ingredients in Whitening Products? Whitening agents use a peroxide solution and vary according to the strength of their peroxide content. A mild whitening agent may have as little as 10% peroxide, while a much stronger one could contain as much as 40% peroxide. Whitening products (such as whitening strips) purchased over the counter from stores, are the mildest whiteners with the lowest concentration of peroxide. Dentist whitening agents, including take-home whitening trays and Zoom whitening, are much stronger. Will Whitening Products Improve My Whole Smile? Store-bought whitening strips are small strips that stick to your teeth. Because of their size and design, they usually only whiten the front teeth, so you may not get that even white smile you'd hoped for. At-home whitening trays are like mouth guards made from flexible material. They’re filled with a gel solution and patients wear them daily for approximately an hour for a period of seven to 10 days. The gel solution coats the side teeth as effectively as the front teeth, creating a much more even white smile. Zoom whitening is another great full-mouth whitening solution. A dentist or dental assistant applies a hydrogen peroxide gel directly to the teeth then shines a Zoom light on the teeth. The light and the gel work in tandem to whiten all the teeth. How Much Do Whitening Treatments Cost? Store-bought whitening treatments are very affordable, with a month’s supply of whitening strips costing around $60, depending on the brand and retailer. In contrast, whitening treatments from dentists can cost between $300 to $500. At-home whitening trays are the most affordable option from your dentist. Do Whitening Products Cause Side Effects? All whitening products can make teeth more sensitive for the treatment period. As store-bought whitening products are milder than in-office whiteners, they don’t make teeth as sensitive. While they don’t work as efficiently, they may be the best option for patients already struggling with teeth sensitivity. Some dentists recommend starting with store-bought whiteners, then moving to take-home whitening solutions or in-office whitening treatments if they feel comfortable. Zoom whitening uses the strongest gel solution, as it must work in a much shorter time period. This strong solution may be unbearable for people with sensitive teeth, even though dentists apply a sensitivity-reducing gel to soothe teeth after the procedure. After the treatment, the sensitivity people often feel during the procedure quickly subsides. You may want to avoid extremely hot or cold foods and beverages, which can trigger sensitivity. Since whitening agents contain peroxide, they can irritate and burn gums. Consumers may burn themselves if they expose their gums to store-bought whiteners. These burns can be unpleasant but they should be minor and should heal. What About Other Whitening Dental Products? Whitening toothpastes, mouth rinses, and flosses have a minimal effect, even with sustained use. As whitening toothpastes are more abrasive than regular toothpastes, they can sometimes actually damage enamel and cause more staining. For this reason, many dentists warn against using many of these whitening dental products. Store-bought whitening products are an affordable, mild treatment option that suits people with sensitive teeth. However, if you want your teeth white fast, contact us for a stronger in-office session or take-home whitening trays.