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Professional Teeth Whitening vs At-Home Kits: Are they really that different?

Updated: Jun 30, 2022

After 2020, it’s safe to say, we’ve all tried to replace a professional service provider.

In times of boredom and with little to no option for services, the temptation of taking matters into our own hands becomes real.

People used to question “should I do it myself or should I hire a professional?”. Now, we just do extensive research on Youtube, order pretty basic products from Amazon, and hope for the best.

Don’t get me wrong, if you’re trying to transform wooden crates into a bed frame, go with that method. What could go wrong? In terms of our health and our body, when should we say “I'm going to leave that to a professional”?

So, what’s the verdict?

What is teeth whitening?

Let’s start there, even though the name says it all.

Due to a variety of causes (food, drinks, smoking, ageing, etc.), teeth tend to stain and ‘yellow’ over time. The goal of teeth whitening is to reverse the discolouration and restore your white and bright teeth.

The desire for whiter teeth started with Ancient Egyptians, the Romans kept the trend going, and it really hasn't stopped since. Luckily oral whitening products have evolved and we no longer require ground pumice and white vinegar or well, urine. Yup, that’s right, urine.

Now there are hundreds and hundreds of products to choose from, but not all methods will work for each person. It depends on the discolouration you have and why you have it.

Toothpaste and rinses help remove surface stains plus they protect your mouth from gum disease. Whitening specific toothpaste and rinses can help reduce the look of discolouration, but they won't provide dramatic results. Typically these methods fall under “Surface Whiteners” and do not contain bleaching agents. Instead, they typically include special abrasives that gently polish the teeth and peroxide or other chemicals that help break down or dissolve stains.

Whitening strips and gels are probably the most popular at-home bleaching methods. The thin strips are coated with a clear peroxide-based gel. You apply them to your teeth as tightly as possible and wait the required time before removing them. Pen-like applicators are also available if you want to apply the gel directly to your teeth without the hassle of a strip. The treatment length, process, and results vary per brand. Most treatments require repetitive use.

Strips and gels are widely used to it’s straightforward process. ‘Crest’ was one of the first brands to capitalize on the “it’s so easy” marketing approach for whitening strips. Their female lead and easy-going commercials started in 2002, kept going in 2008 and even made an appearance in 2020.

What they don't mention? The strips generally use a lower concentration of the same ingredient (peroxide) dentists use to whiten teeth, plus there can be harmful effects if you use the strips too often. This is especially true if you already have sensitive teeth or underlying issues.

Also, teeth whitening strips don't take kindly to crooked or uneven teeth. In some cases, people were left with yellow spots because the treatment’s seal wasn’t tight enough to their shifted teeth.

This isn't to say that the strips don’t work. In many events, they do with repeated use and good practices. Although, like many professional services that have gone to at-home treatments, it’s best to be precautious and to still talk to a dentist before making the purchase.

A professional teeth whitening service is sometimes referred to as chair-side bleaching. This process is usually done with a gel and whitening light, is tailored to your mouth, plus it can last up to 6-12 months with proper dental care.

Many dental clinics offer a professional at-home whitening kit for touch-ups. It’s a bit more cost-friendly than the service and it’s fitted to your mouth.

LifeSmiles Dental Corp at Grant Park Mall offers both options. An in-office service and a take-home whitening kit:

  • LifeSmiles Power Whitening: The Power Whitening session is a one-hour customized whitening treatment. The gel is carefully applied to enamel and used with the whitening light for instant results.

  • Whiter Image Take Home Kit: This kit includes 15 applications of gel and whitening trays to maintain your smile. Perfect if you need a touch-up.

Teeth Whitening Care Tips

For your teeth whitening treatment to have the best result, you will want to follow your dentist’s standard recommendations before and after your appointment. This is true for at-home kits or professional services.

Brushing your teeth a minimum of twice a day for 2 minutes, flossing regularly, and making sure your mouth is well taken care of are the basic requirements.

Watching what you eat/drink for the first 48 hours after your appointment is important too. Try to avoid brewed drinks like coffee or tea, wine, dark-coloured sauces, etc. Chances are, if it will stain a white shirt, it will stain your white teeth.

Teeth Whitening Treatment Costs

The cost varies depending on your method and how effective that method is.

Whitening paste and rinses won't deliver dramatic results, but they are the most affordable option. Prices can range from $4 - $15 per tube or bottle.

Strips and gels also vary in price, substantially, to be honest. The going rate is $10 - $100 per kit/package. This seems like a cost-friendly option in comparison to a dental bill, but when you factor in how many kits you test plus how many you have to buy within a year for upkeep, it can easily rack up a dentist’s fee.

The dentist route is about $650 per session. A lot of people are satisfied with the 1 visit, but again, it depends on how tough your stains are. The take-home kits are a bit more affordable. On average, they’re between $100-$400 per kit.

So what’s the verdict?

You get what you pay for. Certain at-home products have the potential to provide noticeable results. A professional service is guaranteed.

In general, there are not a lot of differences. Either way, the aftercare is crucial and the size of the bill is directly correlated to your oral health and whitening goals.

However, visiting a dental professional offers 2 advantages at-home products will never deliver on.

The first being: dentists and associates have dedicated their lives to oral health. When you receive a one-on-one consultation you get undivided attention and get to discuss the overall well-being of your mouth. You have an opportunity to detect other issues and gain unique insights.

Secondly, you’re receiving a personalized service. You’re in control of the brightness of your smile plus you have assurance they will be an even colour.

LifeSmiles Dental Corp

If you’re still unsure if a visit to the dentist is worth it, check out what people are saying about the LifeSmiles Dental Corp’s Grant Park Mall location on google.

You can even take a peek at their teeth whitening process with this vlog!

If you're interested, you can book a teeth whitening consultation online at the LifeSmiles Grant Park Mall, Sherbrook or La Salle location.

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