Is it better to bleach my teeth at home or at the dentist?
More and more people are concerned with having white teeth and are worried about their teeth staining. Some are worried about coffee or red wine staining their teeth, and others are simply looking for a touch up. An initial question is whether they should try over the counter or professional whitening? Should they bleach at home over a longer period of time or try to do it in one appointment at the dentist? Below we will talk about the pros and cons of each strategy.
A newer trend in teeth whitening is Zoom. It appeared on the market and generated a lot of buzz about same day bleaching. There are certainly a number of cases where it worked out really well and there was no post-op sensitivity, but we have found the in-office bleaching techniques are less predictable and are more likely to lead to sensitivity. The bleach concentration is significantly higher for Zoom, which leads to a higher chance of discomfort. The in-office procedure limits us because it leaves little to no opportunity to customize the bleaching process to each person. It also forces you to remain seated with you mouth open for a long period of time which can cause some jaw discomfort. The bottom line is while it can be effective, we feel there are more challenges and limitations with the in-office procedure.
The professionally made ‘take-home’ bleaching trays are our typical recommendation. It gives us a chance to design a specific plan to your routine and comfort. We are able to choose the concentrations and intervals of bleaching to achieve good results while limiting sensitivity. If your teeth do not get sensitive and you have time to wear the trays, you could bleach as frequently as four times per day. This helps you achieve the results you are looking for in a shorter period of time. But if your teeth become sensitive, we can scale back the frequency, duration, and strength of the bleach used.
You may also find bleaching kiosks at the mall or other shopping areas that are not run by certified dental professionals. I would recommend against using these stations to bleach your teeth. Even if you are able to achieve some results, there are still risks to bleaching your teeth that they are not capable of diagnosing or treating properly. Error on the safe side and consult with your dentist or dental hygienist before any type of bleaching (including over the counter).
Even though there are times where in-office bleaching can be done for certain people, our first recommendation is the take home bleaching. Talk with us about your goals and concerns with bleaching, and we can help create a plan to give you the best results for your situation.