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Teeth Whitening at Home vs. At The Dentist

by Dr. Christine Coughlin, DDS

Everyone wants whiter teeth, but many don’t know where to start. Regarding teeth whitening, there are two options available: whitening at home and professional in-office whitening.

Both methods offer several different systems and products, using either hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide to break down surface stains. Here are the different ways you can achieve a brighter, whiter smile.

Whitening at home

To whiten your teeth at home, you have a wide array of products to choose from based on your sensitivity levels, budget, and habits.

Teeth whitening products

The most inexpensive way to whiten teeth at home is with whitening toothpaste and rinses. Since all toothpaste is mildly abrasive, they help remove some surface stains.

However, whitening toothpaste and rinses include a peroxide ingredient to assist in stain removal. When used twice a day, they can lighten teeth one to two shades but can take six to twelve weeks. 

Whitening strips

Another method for at-home teeth whitening is over-the-counter strips. Whitening strips are thin sheets of plastic coated in a peroxide-based gel that you apply directly to the teeth.

You can get the best results with a few weeks of regular use. But there can be potential problems. Since strips are designed for people with perfectly straight smiles, any overlapping or rotated teeth can be challenging to cover correctly. Some can have difficulty keeping the strips in place – this can cause uneven whitening or even bleaching of the gums around the teeth.

Tray-based whitening

Tray-based whitening combines the convenience of at-home whitening with the strength of professional whitening gel provided by your dentist.

At Thrive Dental and Orthodontics, we offer complimentary whitening trays and professional whitening gel to all new patients age 16 and older.

Teeth whitening at the dentist

While at-home teeth whitening kits are more convenient, the most effective type of whitening is professional whitening at your dentist. At Thrive Dental and Orthodontics, we offer Zoom whitening for patients who want a fast, safe way to dramatically improve their smile.

Zoom uses light-activated hydrogen peroxide with a powerful LED lamp to speed up the whitening process through four 15 minute sessions.

We’ll also send you home with custom-made trays and additional whitening gel to continue the whitening process at home.

The cost of in-office whitening can range anywhere from $400-$1500. At Thrive, we run specials on Zoom Whitening throughout the year so you can get great deals for brightening your smile.

Consult with your dentist about teeth whitening

The most common side effects of whitening products- from rinses to Zoom and everything in between – are tooth sensitivity and gum irritation.

Because of these risks, not everyone is a candidate for teeth whitening. If you have tooth decay or a tooth infection, we need to address these issues before we move forward.

Before starting your whitening journey, it is best to consult with your dentist to decide which options are best for you.

In conclusion

If you’re considering using at-home whitening products, make sure to look for a brand that has the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance. Doing this ensures that the product is both safe and effective without causing damage to the enamel (the outer layer of the teeth)

In summary, the best at home teeth whitening is tray-based. And the most effective whitening method is done professionally at your dentist. At Thrive, for a limited time, you get FREE teeth whitening for life.

To see if teeth whitening is right for you, come see us today!

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