Types of Teeth Whitening at Home and at the Dentist

shutterstock 446773795
shutterstock 446773795

One of the most common reasons for visiting the dentist is teeth whitening. Interestingly, our teeth are mostly white overall, but the enamel that covers them has many shades and tends to become discolored or stained under the influence of various factors. However, do not be upset if your smile is not snow-white: modern dentistry offers many ways to change the shade of tooth enamel and make it lighter, fresher, and more attractive. You can get teeth whitening in NYC or at your dental provider, or you can do it yourself. The key is to make sure you learn the facts about the process and know what to expect. Our article will help you with this.

Teeth Whitening Methods Used By Dentists

Professional teeth whitening, like any other beauty procedure, gives more reliable results than any home method. The dentist will be able to make your teeth whiter by several shades at a time, choosing a method that is right for you personally, and it will be much safer.

You can read more about the methods and risks of teeth whitening here, but for now, let’s look at the most common options for teeth whitening in the dentist’s office.

Mechanical method

The simplest method of whitening tooth enamel is mechanical cleaning, in which the dentist removes plaque and calcified deposits with special nozzles and then applies a special tool to protect and strengthen the enamel. This procedure is recommended to be carried out periodically to prevent caries and gum disease. The mechanical method is considered the safest, but it will not significantly whiten your teeth with it.

Chemical bleaching

During this procedure, the patient’s gums are isolated with a latex plate and a special gel is applied to the teeth. Despite the high concentration of the bleaching agent, this method is quite gentle and can whiten your teeth by only 5-7 tones. But, unfortunately, such whitening cannot be used if you already have polymer fillings, crowns, or veneers.


This method is based on the activation of a gel containing hydrogen peroxide with appropriate radiation (halogen, ultraviolet, or LED lamp). After the procedure, the dentist applies a fluoride preparation to the teeth to protect the enamel and reduce its sensitivity. Using this method, it is possible to lighten teeth 8-10 tones.

Laser whitening

Perhaps, this is the most expensive but, at the same time, the most effective method. In this method, a special separating gel is activated with a laser. Such bleaching is highly effective and has a prolonged effect, so the method is beneficial in the long term.


This method, also called in-ear whitening, is suggested by dentists if the tooth has been severely discolored as a result of a root canal filling or treatment. In this case, a special composition is placed directly into the tooth, which is then sealed. After some time, the color of the tooth is restored.

In addition, your dentist may suggest that you use a customized teeth whitening kit at home. This kit includes a custom mouth tray made from an impression of your teeth and a whitening gel. Fitting perfectly to your teeth, the tray helps the whitening gel spread more evenly and effectively.

Teeth Whitening Options at Home

Teeth whitening can be done on your own using one of the following home methods:

  • Whitening pastes and rinses are the most common method, but you will not achieve significant results with them. It will be much more effective if you use them as a way to constantly maintain the color that was achieved in the professional whitening process.
  • Special gels and varnishes require a regular application for a couple of weeks. They are easily and quickly applied with a brush and contain mineralizing components, helping to lighten the enamel.
  • An express method for lovers of coffee and strong tea is a whitening pencil. Within 10 minutes, you can return the enamel to its original shade, but the next time you drink tea or eat bright fruits, you will need to repeat the procedure.
  • Brightening strips for teeth are impregnated with hydrogen peroxide in low concentration. After holding them on your teeth for a few minutes, you can lighten your teeth by 3-5 tones.

In-office vs. At-Home Whitening: What’s Better?

Of course, the choice of procedure that will be optimal for you depends on the condition of your teeth and oral cavity. Compare the indicators for professional and home procedures and choose the option that suits you:

  1. At the dentist, a 5-tone whitening procedure takes from 1 to 2 hours, while at home, you will have to spend a couple of hours over several weeks to achieve a similar effect.
  2. The cost of a professional procedure is several times higher than what you would spend on a home whitening kit. However, given that you will need several sets to achieve the desired effect at home, the final costs of the procedure may be equal.
  3. Whitening in a dental clinic can penetrate deeper under the surface of the tooth due to the concentration of the solution and the catalytic radiation. It is impossible to achieve a long-term effect with home methods of teeth whitening.

Given these indicators, it is advisable to enlighten the whitening procedure in a dental clinic and then maintain the condition of the teeth at home.

Contraindications for Whitening Procedures

Unfortunately, not all patients can use this service, there are categories for which teeth whitening is contraindicated. First of all, these are children, pregnant, and lactating women. Their health may be harmed, incompatible with the expected beauty effect. If you’re allergic to peroxide, bleach, or other chemicals, you shouldn’t take the risk either. Do not carry out the whitening procedure for people with sensitive teeth, gum disease, worn enamel, caries, and bare roots, as well as people with numerous fillings and crowns.

A separate category is made up of people whose lifestyle is not compatible with snow-white teeth. These are smokers, coffee lovers, fans of strong tea, and heavily staining foods. In this case, you first need to review your eating habits and then think about a way to whiten your teeth.

Oleg Goncharov, DDS

After graduating Kharkiv National Medical University and NYU College of Dentistry, Dr. Goncharov brought his positivity and numerous successful patient stories to Village Dental

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