Professional Teeth Whitening vs. At-Home Teeth Whitening

Artificial teeth locating near smiling female lips

Everyone wants to look their best, including having a beautiful, white smile. The natural “white” that many of us desire is often compromised due to stains from coffee, tea, wine or tobacco. That’s where teeth whitening products come in.

The problem is there are so many teeth whitening options, both on grocery store shelves and in dental offices, that its difficult to know what to use. Let’s walk through the differences between at-home and professional teeth whitening so you can make an informed decision based on your needs and budget.

Professional Teeth Whitening

Sweet The demand for professional whitening has grown over the years. According to a survey by the American Association of Orthodontics, 88% of orthodontists  have patients that request teeth whitening. So, if you’ve been thinking about investing in teeth whitening, you are not the first. 

The truth is that, while you can brighten your smile by a few shades with drugstore products, removing touch, intrinsic stains may require a professional treatment from your dentist.

Your professional treatment may vary based on the whitening strategy you and your dentist choose. For example, with ZOOM! Whitening your dentist will apply a gel and then use an advanced light to activate and accelerate the whitening solution. On the other hand, your dental professional may create customized whitening trays that you can apply at home. These powerful, professional-strength whitening solutions are adapted to your smile based on sensitivity levels as well as desired color.

What to expect:

  1. Prior to starting the procedure, your dentist will evaluate your baseline shade of your teeth. 
  2. Next, your teeth will be gently polished to remove any plaque that could impede the whitening agent.
  3. From there, your teeth will be coated with a whitening solution., typically made from either hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide.
  4. After application, your dentist may use a light or laser to activate the solution.
  5. You may have to wait 30-90 minutes depending on your shade preference.
  6. After the time has passed, your teeth will be rinsed to remove the formula.

What Does Professional Teeth Whitening Cost?

The cost of teeth whitening at a dentist’s office can vary depending on the extent of your discoloration and treatment choice. For customized treatments, the average sits closer to $500.

While pro whitening is clearly an investment, you do have the benefit of being under the supervision of your dentist for safety, and the treatments are generally more effective than store-bought solutions. Our highly-trained staff can help you determine the most effective and affordable treatment option to meet your goals.

Pros and Cons of Professional Teeth Whitening


  • Immediate results
  • Longevity
  • Personalization
  • Oversight from dentist to limit sensitivity


  • More costly
  • Time spent at dentist’s office

At-Home Teeth Whitening

If you are looking for the most cost-effective teeth whitening solution, at-home products can be your best option. From toothpaste to strips, there are a variety of solutions that can help based on your sensitivity levels and routine, and we even carry several at-home whitening products in our office.

You already brush your teeth everyday (hopefully morning and night), o why not add a whitening toothpaste? A whitening toothpaste removes extrinsic stains by polishing the surface of your teeth rather than bleaching them with stronger agents. Due to its gentle nature, whitening toothpaste can take weeks to months to have visible results.

Whitening strips, on the other hand, usually contain peroxide which works below the enamel surface to remove stains and lighten enamel. All you have to do is apply directly to your teeth and leave on, according to packaging instructions. Since they are one-size-fits-all, any crowding or overlapping teeth may be challenging to properly whiten. If you have this concern, we recommend consulting with your dentist.

How Much Does At-Home Teeth Whitening Cost

Without leaving the comfort of your home, you can get results for the price of a cup of coffee. Over-the-counter products typically range from $5 to $75 depending on the brand and type of product. 

Pros and Cons of At-Home Teeth Whitening


  • Cost-efective
  • Variety of products
  • Application at home


  • Takes longer to see results
  • Potential teeth sensitivity

No matter the method that you choose, don’t hesitate to discuss with our team of compassionate experts here at Gentle Dental. Give us a call at (833) 556-2322 or find a practice near you.