Teeth WhiteningEveryone wants a bright smile and there are quite a lot of different ways to whiten teeth. Often, the choices can be confusing, but it may help to know that there are basically only two categories of teeth whitening options to choose from: professional, in-office bleaching or at-home products. No matter which type of teeth-whitening option you choose, both will contain peroxide-based bleaching agents. At-home products contain between 3 and 20 percent carbamide or hydrogen peroxides while professional, in-office treatment systems contain 15 to 43 percent peroxide.

If you’re considering your options and trying to decide whether to do tooth whitening at home or have it done professionally by a dentist, this article will help you better understand the advantages of professional teeth whitening. While some people are able to get a decent outcome using at-home products, the advantages of professional teeth whitening are numerous and there are some important health risks involved in using at-home teeth whitening products.

As a general rule, if you keep a strong solution of peroxide on your teeth, your teeth will become whiter. Higher percentages of the whitening solution can be applied to the teeth for a shorter period of time to get good results. If you keep the tooth whitening gel on your teeth too long, it will dehydrate the teeth, increasing tooth sensitivity. This can cause pain and other dental problems which is one of the reasons why at-home products may not always be the best option. If a patient leaves the lower percentage solution on the teeth too long, pain and sensitivity in the teeth can lead to pain when you eat certain foods. And it’s much more likely that patients will misuse the at-home whitening systems than that the professional treatment will go awry.

Before you decide whether to do at-home or professional, in-office teeth whitening, you should consider talking with your dentist about the pros and cons of both. A lot of patients fail to see results from at-home kits and they may be tempted to leave the whitening solution on the teeth too long. This can have unfortunate results in terms of dental problems along with less-than-wonderful aesthetic outcomes as well.

Teeth whitening at the dentist usually works much faster than teeth whitening at-home. In addition to the stronger peroxide solution that’s used in dental offices, heat or light or both can be used to speed up and intensify the whitening effects of professional treatment. Typically, to get teeth from three to eight shades brighter, patients should expect to do several 30 to 60 minute office visits, though some dentists are able to use specialized techniques that take only one single 2 hour visit. Typically the cost of professional teeth whitening is more than the cost of at-home treatment, but the final results demonstrate that in terms of teeth whitening you get what you pay for.

It makes logical sense that teeth whitening that’s done at home is not as safe as teeth whitening done in a clinic by a professional. At-home teeth whitening treatments are essentially DIY and so, as with all DIY projects, it carries risk (because patients rarely understand fully what they’re doing or how the treatment works and therefore can easily do damage to their teeth).

At the dentist, when you get your teeth whitened, you also will have your teeth and gums cleaned so that plaque and tartar are removed and any cavities are filled. So, one of the advantages of professional teeth whitening is that the dentist will check your teeth and make sure they’re healthy and ready for the treatment. And the treatment itself won’t hurt the teeth because a professional knows how to avoid causing damage while still getting results that are dramatic and long-lasting.

In-office treatments use a higher dosage of either carbamide or hydrogen peroxide than what’s available in most at-home whitening kits. For example, most strips use only about 6 percent hydrogen peroxide. At-home trays use about 22 percent. Professional dental whitening solutions, on the other hand, use 35 percent peroxide, but results from this higher percentage can be further enhanced by other tools such as heat and light. As a result, patients typically spend less time on teeth whitening when they have it done professionally and the final results are much more dramatic than what’s possible at home.

Perhaps the biggest advantage of in-office, professional teeth whitening is vigilance and the fact that the dentist is watching to make sure nothing goes wrong or isn’t working during your treatment. Teeth whitening is a treatment that’s been proven to be safe for many years, but despite this gum irritation is a common problem and tooth hypersensitivity can also occur such that extremely cold or extremely hot foods are irritating after the procedure.

Many dentists will offer you a custom-fit whitening tray to keep the patient’s teeth white between visits. Though at-home treatments rarely yield satisfactory results, most patients find that the combination of professional and at-home treatments creates dramatic and lasting results. And since the whole goal of teeth whitening is to end up with a bright, white smile, most people find that the best option is to have their teeth whitened professionally.

Patients who have specific teeth with noticeable stains that they’d like to have removed should carefully consider going to a professional to ensure that these stains are addressed with care and that the final results repair the problem fully. With an at-home kit patients run the risk of making the problem appear worse rather than better. But professional teeth whitening systems are designed to address these types of issues.

And finally, professional teeth whitening leaves all the responsibility in the hands of the dentist which means that, as the patient, you can sit back and relax during the procedure. At the end of your appointment, you’ll leave the office with bright, pearly whites. At-home treatments, on the other hand, could yield results that are less-than-perfect or even worse-than-before-the-treatment. When poor results happen, in-office treatment has to be aimed at fixing two problems instead of just one (stained teeth). So, if you’re not sure whether at-home or in-office treatments are right for you it might be best to err on the safe side and see a dentist for professional treatment to ensure excellent results.