Home vs. In-Office Teeth Whitening

teeth whiteningSome people approach life with an “all that matters is the end result” philosophy. If you are looking for whiter teeth, though, understanding your options will help you make an informed decision about home or in-office teeth whitening.

For those who choose to whiten teeth at home, there are many methods available: take-home whitening kits from your dentist, or over-the-counter strips, trays or toothpastes. In-office whitening is supervised by a dentist, and it involves custom-made trays filled with a stronger whitening agent than take-home products contain.

Differences Between Home And In-Office Teeth Whitening

Some of the most significant differences between whitening done at home and whitening done at the dentist’s office include:

Time. Since take-home and over-the-counter whitening products use a lower concentration of whitening agent, it will take more applications of the agent to achieve the tooth color you desire. Using whitening strips or at-home trays can take more than a week of consistent use to achieve results. In-office whitening usually takes one or two brief trips to the dentist.

Safety. Home-based teeth whitening products are safe to use for most people, but the whitening agent can irritate the teeth and gums of some patients. It’s also a mistake to leave home whitening products on your teeth for too long – that won’t necessarily make your teeth any whiter. If your dentist oversees your whitening process, they can monitor your comfort and oral health and ensure the procedure only enhances your smile.

Aesthetics. Most teeth whitening products will, indeed, make your teeth a lighter color. However, a trained cosmetic dentist is able to work with their patients during the in-office whitening process to help them whiten their teeth to the precise shade they desire – one that will create a more beautiful smile, but in a subtle way that does not call attention to itself.

“Plenty of people can use either home-based or in-office teeth whitening products,” says Dr. Carol Ford, a cosmetic dentist practicing in central Phoenix and the founder of Dr. Carol Ford & Associates. “However, checking in with your dentist first to confirm your teeth are healthy enough for whitening helps ensure the best results.”

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