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Should You Whiten Your Teeth At Home or Leave the Bleaching to a Professional?

By Bruce Wilderman on February 28, 2014

Philadelphia Teeth WhiteningWhether you’re planning for a special event or just want to look your best, teeth whitening treatments can help you achieve a confident, sparkling smile by removing stains caused by coffee, tea, wine, and other foods. But the inevitable question is: Should you try an at-home whitening kit or undergo an in-office treatment? The answer typically depends on your schedule and desired results. At his cosmetic dentistry practice in Philadelphia, Dr. Wilderman helps patients determine the teeth whitening treatments that are right for them. Read on for his tips on how to choose between at-home or in-office whitening.

In-Office Whitening Treatments

When you choose an in-office whitening treatment, you can enjoy dramatic results in a short amount of time. For example, when performed in-office, Zoom!Ò whitening treatments typically brighten teeth between eight to 12 shades in just one hour. Brite SmileÒ also delivers impressive results, lightening teeth up to nine shades in the same amount of time.

Because of their efficiency, in-office teeth whitening treatments are an excellent option for people who have a special event coming up. Here’s what to expect during your visit:

  1. Your dentist will clean and smooth your teeth, removing any plaque.
  2. To position your mouth for the procedure, your dentist may insert retractors that prevent your lips, tongue, and gums from coming into contact with the whitening gel. Gauze may also be placed in your mouth to keep your teeth dry.
  3. The whitening solution will be applied to your teeth, which may need to be reapplied at regular increments.
  4. Your teeth will whiten over the next 30 to 60 minutes. You will likely be able to watch television or listen to music while you wait.
  5. When the whitening process has been completed, you will immediately be able to see your results.

In order to preserve your whiter, brighter smile, you will be advised to avoid darkly colored foods and drinks, such as coffee, wine and tobacco for at least 24 hours. With proper care, the results you achieve with an in-office whitening treatment can last for years!

Getting Professional Results at Home

Patients now have the option of achieving professional whitening results from the comfort of their own home. However, when whiter teeth can be achieved in-office in just one hour, what’s the advantage of choosing an at-home treatment?  

The reality is, if you don’t have an event coming up and can invest time in whitening your teeth, at-home options may deliver better results in the long run. For example, the at-home versions of Zoom! and Brite Smile, as well as a system known as KöR Whitening Deep Bleaching, can remove tough stains to brighten teeth up to 16 shades over the course of several weeks.

Instead of a one-hour, in-office treatment, the process for an at-home whitening treatment will involve the following steps.

  1. Your dentist will make a mold of your mouth to create a customized whitening tray for your at-home treatments.
  2. When your trays are ready, your dentist will give you your at-home whitening kit and provide you with detailed application instructions.
  3. You will wear your whitening trays for several hours a day, or while you sleep, for several weeks. You will notice a progressively brighter, whiter smile.
  4. You will return to your dentist’s office to measure your progress. Depending on the at-home treatment you use, your dentist may need to perform a short in-office whitening treatment in order to complete your results. Your dentist may advise you to continue wearing your whitening trays periodically in order to preserve your results.

If you are not pressed for time, or simply prefer to achieve results gradually from the comfort of your own home, an at-home treatment may be the best option for you. You will also be able to continue to enjoy coffee, soda and other darkly colored beverages during the course of your treatment.

Learn More about Teeth Whitening

To learn more about in-office or at-home teeth whitening treatments, schedule a tooth whitening consultation with Dr. Wilderman today! Or, send us a digital photo of yourself and we’ll give you a preview of what you’ll look like with a brighter smile.

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