Almost everyone who’s looking for a brighter smile has considered teeth whitening treatments, but with so many options on the market, it can be almost impossible to know which one is right for you.
Some teeth whitening options are more effective and last longer than others, so it’s important to compare teeth whitening systems before deciding on one. We’ll walk you through some of the pros and cons of professional and at-home teeth whitening treatments so that you can find the one that’s right for you.
How does teeth whitening work?
From toothpaste and mouthwash to gum, there are plenty of products that claim to whiten teeth. True teeth whitening, though, requires the use of bleaching agents that can penetrate your tooth enamel and remove deeper stains.
Both professional and at-home teeth whitening systems use peroxide – either hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide – to break up and remove stains from the surface and inner part of your tooth. The catch? It doesn’t work on all teeth. Dental appliances such as crowns and bridges, implants, fillings and teeth that are stained grey from medication or infection won’t respond to teeth whitening treatments.
2 main categories of teeth whitening
Professional whitening treatments are done by registered dentists who have access to better systems and the knowledge to use them safely and correctly. Professional treatments are usually done in-office, though most dentists also offer take-home treatments as well.
- Higher concentrations of peroxide offer faster, whiter results
- The professional application reduces the risk of uncomfortable or painful side effects
- Dramatic results are available in a short period of time – even within an hour
- Protective guards or dental gel keep your gums safe from the whitening agent
- Trained professionals can deliver safe and reliable results every time
- Results often last longer due to higher concentrations and deeper penetration of peroxide
- Your dentist will ensure that your chosen treatment is right for you so you don’t waste money or time on treatments that are likely to fail
- Treatments often cost significantly more than generic whitening systems
- Doesn’t work on all teeth
- Can cause short-term sensitivity
At-home teeth whitening
There are a variety of over-the-counter teeth whitening systems, from trays to gels to toothpaste. Whatever method you choose, it’s important to ensure you use a trusted brand and follow the instruction closely to avoid damaging your enamel.
- Much cheaper than professional whitening treatments
- Greater variety in treatment options, ensuring you’ll find one that fits your lifestyle
- Offers greater convenience, allowing you to tailor whitening to your schedule
- You’re more likely to overbleach with an unmonitored take-home system
- Treatments can be messy and more likely to cause side effects
- Often use lower concentrations of bleaching products, resulting in slower, less stunning results compared to professional bleaching
- One-size-fits-all systems are more likely to cause sensitivity and gum burns because they aren’t fitted to your mouth