Professional teeth whitening vs OTC home whitening kits

Teeth whitening procedures may have been around for decades, they have never been as easily available or effective. Continual advancements in professional teeth whitening procedures have resulted in an array of treatment options that promise whiter and brighter teeth.

Tooth whitening can be divided into two major camps: Professional teeth whitening and at-home teeth whitening kits. The differences between professional and home whitening often boil down to three things: treatment time, treatment results and treatment safety.

Due to several factors, professional teeth whitening tend to deliver positively on all three fronts.

Unlike DIY at-home kits, chair-side whitening treatments are administered by trained cosmetic dentists. Hence patients enjoy benefits like a safer procedure, improved comfort and more reliable outcomes. 

To be sure, home kits are not entirely ineffective. Whether bought over-the-counter (OTC) or dispensed by the dentist, take-home whitening kits are known to produce whitening results. However, there is a plethora of home-use teeth whitening products on the retail market and not every one of them works.

In this regard, professional chair-side procedures tend to offer more consistent results as they benefit greatly from the skills and expertise of the dentist. 

Advantages of professional teeth whitening

Chairside treatments begin with an oral examination, so the dentist can investigate whether the patient is suitable for the procedure. Patients who have had previous dental work such as veneers or crowns – may end up with uneven whitening results.

That’s because teeth whitening produces different whitening results between restored and natural teeth. The outcome is a patchy, unevenly bleached set of teeth.

One distinct advantage of chairside whitening is that dentists are authorised to use whitening solutions with higher concentrations of bleaching agents. Due to the potency of the bleaching ingredient, this type of whitening agent is more effective, compared to take-home kits.

The power bleaching gel typically contains about 40% hydrogen peroxide ingredient which is able to offer visible shade reduction in less than an hour. While high in bleaching power, some dentist-administered gels also contain PF (potassium nitrate and fluoride) that help to reduce teeth sensitivity, a relatively common complaint amongst whitening patients.

Chairside laser whitening also takes advantage of a special light source to catalyze the whitening effect, as a way to both shorten the treatment time and enhance the whitening effect.

Another major benefit of in-office whitening treatments is the short treatment time. Chair-side procedures typically take as little as one hour to achieve the desired whitening effects. That said, patients with specific dental conditions or advanced cases of discolouration may require more sessions to see visible results.

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