Find a Doctor
How to Decide Between In-Office and At-Home Whitening

How to Decide Between In-Office and At-Home Whitening


Few procedures have as dramatic an effect as tooth whitening. Professional whitening treatment can leave your teeth up to eight shades whiter, making you look years younger and giving you a huge boost of self-confidence. However, with so many tooth whitening options available, how do you know which is the right procedure for you? There is no doubt that dentist-provided tooth whitening is more effective than over-the-counter methods. However when it comes to in-office versus at-home treatment, choosing the right method can be a challenge. Fortunately, both methods offer comparable results, so you really can't go wrong, no matter which one you choose. Ultimately, you should select the method that best suits your lifestyle, schedule, and budget.

What to Expect

Both in-office and at-home whitening are standard cosmetic dentistry procedures. In-office treatment takes about an hour. After isolating your teeth to protect your gum tissue, your dentist will apply hydrogen-peroxide based whitening gel to your teeth. This gel will chemically break down stains and discoloration. Some dentists use a specially designed light to activate this gel, but not all dentists perform this part of the procedure. Following in-office treatment, your dentist may provide you with a take-home kit to help you maintain your whiter teeth.

If you choose in-office treatment, your dentist will use impressions of your teeth to create custom-fit trays, which you will fill with whitening gel. This gel is similar to the kind used in in-office treatment, but it has a milder formula to protect your gums. According to the instructions of your dentist, you will wear the trays overnight or during the day for 30 minutes to an hour at a time. Treatment typically lasts for a week or two.

The Pros and Cons of Both Methods

The biggest advantage of in-office treatment is the speed, since this procedure delivers nearly instantaneous results. If you are getting ready for a big event such as a wedding, in-office treatment can ensure that you are ready for the occasion. In addition, if you have sensitive teeth, you may be a better candidate for in-office treatment. Though whitening trays are designed to protect your gums, the whitening gel can still come in contact with the delicate tissue. The precise isolation of your teeth during in-office treatment will help you to remain comfortable during the process. If you are considering tooth whitening methods, you should also be honest about your personal commitment to your dental care. If you are likely to forget or lose interest halfway through treatment, you should choose the in-office method.

The top benefit of take-home treatment is the cost; whitening trays have a significantly lower price than in-office treatment. If you are on a budget, are fully committed to your teeth whitening, and do not suffer from tooth sensitivity, in-office treatment is an excellent choice.

Contact a Dentist

To learn more about tooth whitening and to find out which method may be right for you, find a cosmetic dentist in your area today.

Want More Information?

Contact a Doctor Near You.