If a person has tried at home methods and failed or believes their whitening needs are probably more serious than over-the-counter products can address, seeing a dentist who can offer a professional-grade dentist teeth whitening treatment is a good option.
What options are available?
On the lower end of the price and patient controlled spectrum, there are kits using strips or gels available from your dentist just like the over-the-counter options. The main difference is that kits provided by a dentist for at home use are stronger than options you can get on your own. Usually, though, the kits have the same chemical make-up as the OTC versions, simply in a stronger strength.
Our Recommendations: Whiter Smile offers stronger versions of their own gel syringe product. Likewise, they offer stronger versions of many of the Crest whitening strip kits. These kits are designed to offer stronger whitening strength and sometimes faster speed than standard OTC options.
The strongest, fastest, and longest lasting treatment is a whitening treatment offered in-office by a dentist. In-office whitening is normally complete with one-to-two hour long sessions in your dentist’s office. These treatments produce significant whitening in a short amount of time. One session may be all it takes to whiten teeth up to nine shades.
Generally, in-office treatments are done by applying a carefully controlled high concentrate peroxide gel to the teeth. Because the gel actually contains a bleaching agent as well as a whitening agent, the dentist will be sure to protect your gums before the gel is applied. After application, the gel may be cured beneath heat, laser, or an LED lamp for 15 minutes. Sometimes, the process is repeated for up to an hour in a single office visit. A patient will see a noticeable difference in the brightness of their teeth immediately following the procedure, and the lightening will continue to increase over a two-week period post-treatment.
How Does Dentist Teeth Whitening Compare to at Home Treatment?
There are a number of factors one wants to take into comparison when choosing at home treatment or in-office treatment.
While at home systems generally have either carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide just like in-office treatment kits, the amount of this active ingredient is significantly stronger for in-office administration procedures. Over-the-counter kits or kits prescribed by dentists for home use have about three percent hydrogen peroxide, while those used in-office can range from six-to-ten percent hydrogen peroxide.
Because in-office treatments use much more powerful concentrates of the active ingredient, the results are seen more quickly. Usually, a single hour’s session brightens teeth by several shades. So, if expediency is needed or desired, in-office procedures may be the best option.
With at home procedures, patients will need to deal with mouth trays (or strips) to apply while in-office treatments do not utilize trays or strips. Another option to consider is that at home treatment kits bought over-the-counter only have a single size mouthpiece. This means the whitening agents will have less contact with teeth than a dentist prescribed treatment because those packages allow for custom moulded trays designed for your mouth.
If you feel nervous about performing whitening procedures on your teeth without the supervision of a professional, at home procedures may make you more nervous than they’re worth. If you prefer a middle-of-the-road option, dentist prescribed at home kits often involve check-ups along the way to monitor progress.
Length of Lasting
Due to the strength of in-office procedures, they often last longer before requiring more treatment, especially when compared with OTC options.
In addition to the quickness of results and the strength of the product used, one of the biggest deciding factors for most patients is cost. As a cosmetic treatment rather than a medically necessary one, it’s not unusual for in-office procedures to cost several hundred dollars or more per session. At home treatments are usually much more cost effective, and those prescribed by the dentist for at home use fall somewhere in the middle.