As one of the most popular cosmetic dental procedures available, teeth whitening products have been on the rise. You can find at-home teeth whitening products that promise amazing results at a fraction of the cost compared to professional whitening treatments by a dentist. This has lead people to ask, does at-home teeth whitening work as well, or better than in-office teeth whitening? Keep reading to learn the difference between the results of at-home and in-office treatment options, including safety, cost and time requirements.
Does At-home Teeth Whitening Work?
There are too many home remedies to list, but almost every one has a drawback. For example, baking soda does nothing, while citrus fruit-based remedies actually eat away at your enamel, causing permanent damage. Ultra-strength products often guarantee instant whitening, but only for a shorter period of time, by using bleach concentrations that can be extremely damaging. Even in the case of safe, over-the-counter products, the whitening qualities they have rarely produce significant results. The best option is always to see a professional, who utilizes safe methods and products, and can tailor the treatment to your unique needs. All in all, pass on the overpriced gum and toothpaste!
A Cost Comparison
One of the primary concerns for people considering teeth whitening is the cost. Like any cosmetic procedure, the price can vary significantly between in-office and at-home treatments. Compare the cost between in-office versus at-home teeth whitening, as well as the time requirements, and the results that each option offers.
Professional, in-office whitening treatments:
Dentist-provided custom whitening trays – For one to three hours per night for one to three weeks, patients can achieve about five to eight shades whiter, for a cost between $300 to $1,000.
In-office whitening treatments – Dental bleaching without a halogen light takes one to two hours per visit for one to four visits, and patients can achieve five to eight shades whiter for between $300 to$1,000. With a halogen light, a one-hour visit is necessary, from which a patient can achieve eight shades whiter for $600 to $3,000.
At-home whitening systems:
Custom fitted teeth whitening trays – Requires one to three hours per night for one to three weeks, to achieve five to eight shades whiter for $70 to $150 per kit. The price varies by the amount of whitening gel included in each kit, or required to purchase separately.
Teeth whitening pens – This process requires 30 minutes to two hours per day for one to three weeks to achieve three to six shades whiter for $30 to $60.
Teeth whitening strips – For 30 to 120 minutes per day for one to three weeks, a patient can achieve about two to four shades whiter. A box of multiple strips can cost between $40 to $70.
Boil n’ bite trays – After forming the trays, one to three hours per day for one to three weeks are required to achieve two to four shades whiter at a cost ranging from $5 to $20. However, the gel must be purchased separately at an additional cost.
Are You a Candidate for At-Home Teeth Whitening?
For many, at-home teeth whitening is more favorable, because it has no restrictions on candidacy. This is not to say at-home treatments are for everyone, simply that they have no way to enforce their recommendations. Anyone can purchase at-home treatments online, regardless of their oral health ‒ a requirement for in-office treatments. During an in-office consultation, a doctor would determine whether or not you were in good standing to undergo treatment.
Any underlying oral health conditions would need to be addressed before undergoing an in-office whitening treatment. Why? Patients with tooth decay or gum disease can experience significant pain due to the concentrated bleaching gel. Also, some stains can not be treated. Patients with deep, or “intrinsic” staining, are often disappointed by the less-than-effective results. Knowing this, a dentist can recommend other treatments, such as veneers. Essentially, you waste less money and have more to spend on the most effective treatment.
Advantages of Seeing a Dentist for Whitening
Unlike at-home teeth whitening, professional teeth whitening has more benefits than risks. Cost aside, the most obvious benefit is that you will receive the most effective, high-quality products for more thorough whitening results. On top of being reliable, the results are almost instant. You can even opt for one treatment session, or a handful, depending on your schedule and budget. A professional also has your safety in mind, meaning the dentist can adjust the whitening agent concentration as needed, and cover sensitive areas of the mouth for protection. They can also provide tips on how to prevent post-treatment sensitivity.
A fantastic option for people seeking teeth-whitening treatment who do not have time for in-office visits is Zoom whitening. Many dentists offer Zoom in-office, but can make custom trays and provide gel for you to perform the treatment at home. This option allows you to receive the recommended oral health assessment prior to starting any treatment, yet allows you to perform the procedure at the most convenient time for you.
For noticeably whiter teeth and a smile you will take pride in, look no further than NK Family Dental. Our practice is proud to offer patients the highly respected and safe Zoom and Opalescence brands of teeth whitening treatments. Contact us today to schedule an appointment to learn whether you are a candidate for teeth whitening. We look forward to meeting you!