Is Home Teeth Whitening the Best Bleaching Choice for You?

A positive first impression is important in life. A nice smile and white teeth make a first impression that can last a lifetime. It is no secret that teeth lose their whiteness as we age, and that can make for a bad impression. Hollywood celebrities know this and that's why... Read More

The Two Types of Professional Whitening Treatments

Professional whitening is a popular procedure in the world of cosmetic dentistry.  People are spending more and more money on procedures that make them “look” better.  In many cases, the goal is to make that person feel better about themselves, have more confidence and face the world with a brighter smile.

Professional teeth bleaching can be done in-office or at-home.  The prescription gels that are given to patients to use in their own homes have a higher concentration of the peroxide bleaching agents than over-the-counter products available at the drug store.

Many dentists are of the opinion that a take-home kit produces better results than professional whitening treatments done in the office, at least over the long haul.  It is an arguable opinion, because the fastest results (the most significant color change) are usually seen using the in-office protocol.  Here’s how the two options work.

Hot Teeth Whitening Topic

Both in-office and take-home kits include a gel that has a high concentration of hydrogen peroxide.  The take-home kits have a lower concentration that causes less irritation and can be left on for an hour or overnight.  In-office professional teeth bleaching are done in 15 to 20 minute intervals that add up to an hour, at most.  The strong bleach requires the dentist or technician to paint on a rubber dental dam to protect the gums.

Both types of professional teeth bleaching causes gum irritation that can last from 2 days to a month.  The teeth themselves can also be sensitive to the bleach.  Some people report sharp shooting pains in the front teeth that dentists typically refer to as “zingers”.  Those at greatest risk are people with cracks or gum recession.  If the gums have receded and a yellowish dentin root can be seen, the bleaches will be ineffective, at least on that part of the tooth.

Professional whitening sometimes causes a “Technicolor” effect.  Restorations such as porcelain veneers are not affected by the bleach.  So, they won’t “match” the new smile.  Usually, veneers will need to be replaced once the highest degree of whiteness is attained.  Typically, that takes 4-6 weeks.

Take home professional teeth bleaching kits cost between $100 and $400.  In-office treatments cost, on the average, $650 per visit. In some cases, several visits are needed to achieve the desired result.  These procedures use laser teeth whitening and are not covered by dental insurance, but flex plan funds can be used to pay for them.

Talk to your dentist about professional whitening.  It could be the right choice for you.