As recently as a few years ago, whitening one’s teeth was an involved process that entailed several long trips to the dentist as well as exorbitant bills. Many advances in the dental industry and in the teeth whitening industry have made having a whiter, brighter smile possible for more and more people.
Today consumers are able to purchase their own teeth whitening kits and use them in the convenience of their home as well as having a professional application done in a dentist’s office. But what are the differences and which method is the smarter, more effective choice? Consider the following facts and decide whether professional teeth whitening or an in-home kit is the best for you.
The price of a professional tooth whitening session can be substantially higher than an in-home method of application and insurance rarely, if ever, covers a cosmetic procedure. Most in-home kits use the same ingredients and the same gel or solution used by dentists, although they may be of a lower concentration making the need for more frequent treatments.
Consider the cost of one professional application and the anticipated result as opposed to the cost of an in-home treatment to produce the same results and see which is more cost effective for you. If your teeth are only in need of lightening just a few shades, it may be financially wiser to try an in-home kit first.
Comfort and Ease of Use
Some people may find it easier to have a dentist handle their teeth whitening, while others have found that the process is easy enough to do on their own at home.
Most whitening methods in a dentist’s office use a special blue light which emit no harmful light or rays. This light is directed toward the teeth after the whitening solution or gel is gently painted onto the surface of the tooth with a small brush. The light activates the whitening properties of the solution and speeds up the process. There are in-home kits today that come equipped with a similar blue light in order to achieve the same results.
There are also tray-based professional methods of teeth whitening in which the dentist takes an impression of your teeth and sends it off to a lab to be fabricated. You then return for your session with personalized trays for maximum comfort and effectiveness. The better the fit of the mouth tray, the better the results will be since the gel or solution will be in constant contact with the teeth.
Most in-home whitening kits that are tray-based have mouth trays that are to be dipped into hot water before use so that they take the shape of your individual mouth adding to the comfort and creating a better fit.
For many people with busy lives and schedules, finding the extra time to go to the dentist for a tooth whitening session seems impossible. By choosing to use an in-home kit instead, they can whiten their teeth when they have the time and can reapply as often as needed without additional trips to the dentist. Other people may see that time at the dentist during their whitening treatment to be a relaxing and much needed rest.
Most professional teeth whitening methods can produce immediate and dramatic results after only one application, which is ideal for people with considerable staining and also for dark spots caused by tetracycline. Certain professional treatments can last up to two whole years as well. But people with milder staining may decide that an in-home kit is more cost-effective for them even if they need a few extra applications than they would at the dentist.
Both professional and in-home methods of whitening your teeth are completely safe. One of the main active ingredients used in any effective whitening gel or solution is hydrogen peroxide, or a derivative. Hydrogen peroxide has been labeled safe for dental purposes for over a century and several whitening toothpastes contain it as well. Numerous people have even reported that their gums were actually healthier after having their teeth whitened due to the healing and anti-bacterial properties of the peroxide.
There is a small percentage of people who may experience mild sensitivity to hot and or cold substances after having their teeth whitened. For those people, the discomfort should subside within 24 hours and a mild analgesic may be used for relief.