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Teeth Whitening: In-Office vs. At-Home

You may be wondering about the difference between teeth whitening at your dentist's office compared to do-it-yourself treatments at home. Here, our Toronto dentists shed some light on your options for this popular cosmetic dental procedure to lighten your smile. 

Teeth whitening is a cosmetic dental procedure that involves the use of peroxide-based bleaching agents to lighten your teeth's colour. As the active ingredient breaks down, oxygen acts on the tooth enamel, causing the whitening effect.

Today, there are many teeth whitening options available, and this can make it difficult to choose the right one for you. There are a number of differences between professional teeth whitening at your dental office and the at-home options, and pros and cons of each. 

What Are the Active Ingredients in Whitening Products?

A peroxide solution is used in all whitening products. The strength of the peroxide content in whitening agents varies. A mild whitening agent may contain as little as 10% peroxide, while a more powerful teeth whitener may contain as much as 40% peroxide.

Store-bought whitening products, such as whitening strips, are the mildest whiteners with the lowest peroxide concentration. Dentist-administered whitening agents, such as take-home whitening trays, are far more powerful.

In-Office Teeth Whitening

In-office whitening provides an immediate transformation to your smile, and the results tend to be better because your dentist uses higher-concentration bleaching gels. 

In-office whitening is generally a safe and reliable procedure because it is performed by a trained dental professional. Patients who do not pass a basic oral health screening will not be given teeth whitening.

If you choose to whiten your teeth at the dentist's office, the procedure is simple and non-invasive. You can even relax and listen to music while your dentist removes stains to lighten your smile.

At-Home Teeth Whitening 

Teeth whitening at home is a do-it-yourself option that is typically less expensive than in-office teeth whitening at your dentist's office. What's the best part? It is possible to do it from the convenience of your own home.

The majority of patients notice a difference in 10 to 14 days, with full results appearing at the conclusion of your treatment period. However, because at-home whitening products typically contain lower concentrations of bleaching gels, they rarely achieve the same level of whitening as an in-office treatment.

If you choose the at-home option, ask your dentist if he or she has one available.

Most dentists who provide in-office whitening also provide a take-home option, which involves customizing a whitening tray to fit your smile.

Avoid over-the-counter teeth whitening products if you want to lighten your teeth at home. Patients often don't get the results they want from drug store whitening kits because they lack the strength of professional-grade whitening. Because these whitening kits aren't customized to fit your mouth, they can irritate gums and soft tissue.

To learn more about the in-office and at-home teeth whitening options available at our Toronto dental office, contact the team at Bay Street Dental Associates.

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