When it comes to cosmetic dentistry, teeth whitening is the most common and popular procedure patients look for. The big question for those looking for whiter teeth is, should you use professional or at home-teeth whitening services?

Each system has its benefits and may be right for different people. First, let’s discuss exactly what is involved with each cosmetic dentistry method:

At-Home Products

For patients looking for a cheaper form of teeth whitening, at-home trays are a cost-effective option. There are two types of at-home options. Over-the-counter systems like Crest Whitestrips have the lowest amount of whitening effect. Getting home whitening trays fit by your dentist and using prescription gel can provide a stronger whitening effect that lasts longer.

Whichever method of at-home teeth whitening you use, the system will generally only treat surface stains and may require more frequent applications. However, due to the lower price tag, more applications are possible.

Professional Teeth Whitening Services

For patients that opt for in-chair teeth whitening, the procedure usually takes about 2 hours. During this visit, your dentist will apply a gel with stronger bleaching agents than over-the-counter whitening systems and will also apply a gel to protect your gums. LED lights are then used to speed up the process and create an immediate whitening effect. This also allows the bleach to penetrate into the tooth enamel for a deeper whitening which lasts longer.

One of the biggest differences between professional and at-home teeth whitening is a professional treatment will see immediate results and will last longer than at-home trays, generally around 1 year.

Who They’re Right For

Which teeth whitening system is right for you depends on your specific needs. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Speed: While at-home systems can require weeks of applications to see results, professional, in-office produces immediate results. This is ideal for someone looking for whitening before an upcoming event such as a wedding.
  • Convenience: No matter which method you choose, no procedure lasts forever. If you are planning to have regular procedures, you should determine which is easiest for you. After you have had at-home trays fit by your dentist you can use them to administer your own teeth whitening at home for as long as you like. For professional whitening, you will need to come into the office each time you’d like teeth whitening but the effects will be faster and last longer. Determine your convenience preference.
  • Tooth and Gum Sensitivity: Some over-the-counter tooth whitening systems contain chlorine dioxide which could break down your tooth enamel. Teeth whitening trays provided by your dentist will come with safe gels and in-office procedures include the use of special gels to further protect your gums. Talk to your dentist about what the safest option is for your teeth.
  • Cost: For those looking for teeth whitening on a budget, at-home options are definitely the less expensive option. However, if cost is less of an issue professional procedures produce a deeper, and longer-lasting, whitening effect. Choose the best fit for your dental budget.

Looking for more advice about teeth whitening in Columbia, MD?

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