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Is Take-Home Whitening or In-Office Whitening Right for Me?

We don’t talk to many people who aren’t interested in teeth whitening.  Everyone wants white teeth.  You will find that there are almost countless ways to accomplish teeth whitening when you do a little research.  Many over-the-counter products work well and meet the needs of white-teeth-seekers.

For our purposes, we will focus on the types of professional teeth whitening we offer at Designer Smiles.  Professional teeth whitening uses high-powered ingredients to produce noticeable results under a dentist’s supervision.

How Does Teeth Whitening Work?

True teeth whitening requires a chemical in the peroxide family (either hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide) to penetrate the enamel and oxidize, or break down, darkly colored pigments within the teeth.  The active ingredient is essential in actually lightening the color of the teeth.

Another important factor in teeth whitening is the method in which the active ingredient is in contact with the teeth.  It takes time for the peroxide ingredient to penetrate the tooth and “work”.  So an effective whitening method will keep the whitening product on the tooth surface for a minimum amount of time (usually around 15 minutes).

The professional teeth whitening options at Designer Smiles meet all of the criteria necessary to produce wonderful results.  We have the option for you to perform the whitening at home in custom-fitted carrier trays or for us to perform it for you in our office.

What is Take-Home Whitening?

Take-home teeth whitening is a method of whitening that uses professional strength ingredients in a custom-fitted tray.  After a thorough dental evaluation by Dr. Ann to confirm the health of your teeth and gums, you can opt to proceed with take-home whitening.  We begin by creating an exact replica of your upper and lower teeth, and we use these models to make a plastic carrier tray that fits the teeth perfectly.  These soft plastic trays fit like an Invisalign aligner or retainer without being quite so tight.  We will confirm that the trays fit your teeth properly before dispensing the professional whitener and giving you take-home instructions.  These professionally-fitted custom trays allow us to target specific areas of the teeth and avoid applying whitening gel to dental work or exposed tooth roots.

Professional whitening gel is available in various concentrations, and Dr. Ann will help you choose which strength best meets your needs.  Higher concentrations may require less time to work, but they have a higher risk of causing sensitive teeth.  On the flip side, the lower strength gel is less likely to cause discomfort, but it might take longer to see results.

To whiten your teeth, you simply dispense a very small amount of the selected whitening gel into the carrier trays and place the trays over the teeth.  Make sure to follow the instructions for wear time!  If you wear them longer than you should, the teeth might become sensitive.

Most people will see results within four to five sessions of take-home whitening.  We usually see maximum whitening results in 10-14 days of daily use.

Benefits of Take-Home Teeth Whitening

What is In-Office Whitening?

In-office whitening is a dental procedure performed in our office.  You may be familiar with in-office whitening brands like Zoom!, Boost, Sapphire, or Kör.  These all operate under the same principles of a high-strength gel and protective barriers.  Some use activating lights or lasers, and some do not.

Because the gel used for in-office is so high in concentration, it can actually burn the soft tissues inside the mouth.  This is why dental supervision and extreme care is necessary.  We protect the soft tissues with barriers that separate them from the teeth and cover the edge of the gums nearest the teeth with a gingival barrier.  The gingival barrier is a cool gel that we paint over the gum tissues and then “cure” or harden with the bright blue light.  This allows us to place the high-strength whitening gel over the entire tooth and keeps it from burning the gums.

This high-powered gel has a higher risk for adverse effects, so it requires continual monitoring and oversight.  That’s why we administer it in our office and keep close tabs on you.

The in-office whitening procedure takes about an hour and produces visible whitening results of three to four shades in that time.  Some people experience greater results, depending on the state of the teeth and the pre-whitening color.

Benefits of In-Office Teeth Whitening

Ideal Take-Home Whitening Patient

An ideal patient for take-home whitening is one who is willing to perform the application of the whitening gel in custom trays themselves daily for up to two weeks.  You are good at following instructions and are self-motivated.  You would monitor any side effects and adjust the time or frequency of whitening to address them.

Ideal In-Office Whitening Patient

An ideal in-office whitening patient is someone who wants immediate results and is unwilling to perform the consistent tasks necessary to whiten at home.  Maybe you have a big event coming up this weekend and don’t have time for two weeks of whitening at home.  You are willing to pay a little more to get fast results while you relax in the chair for an hour.  You understand that there is a risk for sensitivity or discomfort and think it’s worth the risk for the speed and effectiveness of the process.

More Questions about Teeth Whitening?

Call Designer Smiles today to schedule a whitening consultation with Dr. Ann.  She can answer any questions you may have and recommend the type of teeth whitening that will be right for you.