Home Versus Office: Comparing Tooth Whitening Options

Are you considering a tooth whitening treatment, but are intimidated by all of the products, services, and treatment options available? Perhaps you just have a common and understandable dislike of going to the dentist, and are curious to know if it’s worthwhile to attempt at home.

This article is intended to provide an overview of some of the options currently available on the market. With just a few minutes of reading, it can help you decide which options are best suited to your needs.


Treatment options and prices

For severely discolored teeth, in-office treatments tend to be the better option. Trained dental professionals have access to higher quality and more powerful gels and bleaches than what’s available over the counter.

The method of application and cost vary depending on the product used, but any treatment will typically begin with the dentist clearing away plaque and other debris. A typical dental exam, in other words. Afterward, the gums are protected through the application of either a liquid rubber dam or hardening resin. A hydrogen peroxide-based gel is then applied to the teeth and left to sit for up to thirty minutes. One or more applications of gel typically follow, depending on the severity of the teeth’s discoloration.

Some popular brands of in-office whiteners include Zoom and Britesmile, but they should all follow a similar procedure.

Products sold for use at home have lower concentrations of the active ingredient found in the tooth whiteners used by professionals. They also, fittingly, have a lower cost, but also tend to be less effective on severely discolored teeth.

They also, however, can be applied in a wider variety of ways. Perhaps the simplest and most cost-efficient is as a toothpaste, which would only require you to substitute your regular toothpaste for a whitening toothpaste once or twice a day. Other at-home options include whitening strips, mouthwashes, and even chewing gum.


Effectiveness and results


Although at-home products can be effective in some cases, the results are shorter-lived than a professional treatment. Regular reapplication and usage are recommended. Thankfully, continuing the usage of at-home whitening products is easy and requires only minor adjustments to your daily routine.

Regardless of whether you receive a professional or at-home whitening treatment, there are certain actions you can take to increase the effective length of the treatment. Drinking coffee, for example, leads to tooth stains.


Considerations and recommendations


Before scheduling a professional treatment, a dentist will first schedule a regular check-up appointment to examine the state of your teeth and gums. The gels used in offices don’t normally cause pain, but underlying diseases or tooth decay can lead to pain where there ordinarily would be none. Additionally, it’s a good idea to get your teeth looked at regularly anyway, as oral health is an important facet of our overall health.


It should also be noted that, in some cases, a traditional tooth whitening procedure may not be enough to effectively treat teeth. In this case, other options, such as a dental veneer, may be considered instead. This pertains primarily to those with severe stains that are intrinsic in nature to the teeth.