You may be wondering about the difference between teeth whitening at your dentist's office compared to do-it-yourself treatments at home. Here, our Winnipeg dentists shed some light on your options for this popular cosmetic dental procedure to lighten your smile.
Teeth whitening is a cosmetic dental procedure that uses peroxide-based bleaching agents designed to lighten the colour of your teeth. Oxygen acts on the tooth enamel as the active ingredient breaks down, creating the whitening effect.
Today, there are many teeth whitening options available, and this can make it difficult to choose the right one for you. There are a number of differences between professional teeth whitening at your dental office and the at-home options, and the pros and cons of each.
What Are the Active Ingredients in Whitening Products?
A peroxide solution is used in all whitening products. The strength of peroxide content in whitening agents varies. A mild whitening agent may contain as little as 10% peroxide, whereas a more potent teeth whitener may contain up to 40% peroxide solution.
Over-the-counter whitening products from stores, such as whitening strips, are the mildest whiteners with the lowest concentration of peroxide. Dentist whitening agents, including take-home whitening trays, are much stronger.
In-Office Teeth Whitening
In-office whitening provides an immediate transformation to your smile, and the results tend to be better because your dentist uses higher-concentration bleaching gels.
Because it is performed by a trained dental professional, in-office whitening is generally a safe and dependable procedure. Dentists will not offer teeth whitening to patients who fail a basic oral health screening.
If you choose to whiten your teeth at the dentist's office, the procedure is simple and non-invasive. You can even relax and listen to music while your dentist removes stains to lighten your smile.
At-Home Teeth Whitening
At-home teeth whitening is a do-it-yourself alternative that typically costs less than in-office teeth whitening available at your dentist’s office. The best part? You can do it from the comfort of your own home.
Most patients notice a difference in 10 to 14 days, and the full results will appear at the end of your treatment period. But because at-home whitening products have lower concentrations of bleaching gels, they rarely provide the same degree of whitening that you would get from an in-office treatment.
If you do opt for the at-home option, try to find one available through your dentist. Most dentists who offer in-office options also offer an at-home version, which involves creating a whitening tray custom-fitted to your smile.
Avoid using over-the-counter products to lighten your teeth at home. Because drug-store whitening kits lack the strength of professional-grade whitening, patients frequently do not achieve the desired results. Because they are not customized to your mouth, these whitening kits can also irritate gums and soft tissue.