The Differences Between In-Office and At-Home Teeth Whitening

Most people respond positively to a bright smile. If your teeth in the “smile zone” have been darkened by staining food or drinks, tobacco use, or other factors, getting a teeth teeth-whiteningwhitening treatment can provide a boost to your self-confidence. Another plus to teeth whitening is that there are several ways to achieve that bright smile. Many people opt for at-home methods like “white strips” or treatment trays but are unaware significant differences exist between whitening treatments done at home and those done in a dentist’s office.

In-Office Vs. At-Home Teeth Whitening: What’s The Difference?

  1. Whitening agent used. Both methods of whitening use a peroxide-based product to change the shade of your teeth. In-office treatments, because they are supervised by a dentist, use faster-acting and more concentrated hydrogen peroxide. At-home whitening kits typically use less concentrated carbamide peroxide.
  2. Number of treatments needed. Because in-office treatments use hydrogen peroxide, patients can usually achieve the desired shade in one to three sessions. At-home methods, especially over-the-counter products, can take weeks to show the same level of whitening.
  3. Dealing with possible side effects. Teeth whitening can irritate sensitive gums and cause discomfort in the tooth itself. Many dentists require a pre-treatment examination before providing teeth whitening. During the in-office session, your dentist can evaluate why you are experiencing side effects and adjust the treatment (or suggest alternatives). At home, you will need to either slow down or stop treatment to reduce your side effects.
  4. Ideal user of each method. A person with healthy teeth and gums who experiences little or no tooth sensitivity is the best candidate for at-home teeth whitening. If you do experience gum or teeth sensitivity, do not want the fuss of applying whitening solution, or do not want to commit to the self-discipline needed to keep up at-home treatments, in-office treatments may work better for you.

“Your dentist is your go-to person for teeth whitening advice, even if you want to use at-home products,” says Dr. Carol Ford, a central Phoenix cosmetic dentist who is the founder of Dr. Carol Ford & Associates. “We can evaluate your teeth and gums, provide tips on how to use over-the-counter products, and prescribe take-home kits to extend the effectiveness of in-office treatment.”



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