In-Store vs Professional Teeth Whitening

A woman in a white shirt looking into a mirror and smiling.

Like most people, you have probably had an urge at one point in your life to get a whiter smile. With today’s technology, there are many options available to whitening teeth, but which ones are the most effective considering their ranges of cost? In general, there are two routes that you could take to whitening your teeth: 1) the generic, store-bought route, or 2) getting your teeth professionally whitened at your local dental office. Both options have their pros and cons, which will be discussed shortly.

In-Store Whitening Kits

There are many competing brands on the market that claim at-home teeth whitening is possible and affordable. Among these are some of the best-rated teeth whitening products like Crest Whitestrips ($34.77 on Amazon), GoSmile Super White Snap Packs ($41.98 on Amazon) and GoSmile On the Go Teeth Whitening Pens ($19.00 on Amazon). Not only are these products available at most grocery stores and are extremely affordable, but they contain hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide, chemicals that most dentists recommend to whiten teeth. Many users have advocated their effectiveness and ease of use.

However, there are some cons to buying in-store teeth whitening kits. First, these kits generally only whiten the front 6 teeth. Since these are the main teeth that are seen when a person smiles, it may not be that much of a deal-breaker considering the low cost. Nevertheless, if you wish to fully whiten your teeth, it may be a good idea to get it done professionally. Second, the in-store kits can sometimes be difficult to use. Whitening strips may sometimes bend and fold which makes application and following the instructions printed on the box difficult to manage. Finally, in-store whitening kits are simply not as effective as professional whitening. It may take several uses to notice a difference in your smile and even when your teeth are at your ideal level of whiteness, the color may fade very quickly back to its normal yellow. Beyond that, if your teeth are crooked, they may not produce the results that you want.

Professional Teeth Whitening

Professional teeth whitening addresses the shortcomings of store-bought whitening kits. When done professionally, all of the teeth are whitened so that there are no inconsistencies in color throughout. Additionally, patients can expect their teeth to be noticeably whiter after the first whitening session, and this color usually lasts a lot longer than your traditional in-store whitening kits. Finally, professional whitening is stress-free; you can simply sit back and relax and let the professionals do their job.

There are two shortcomings to getting your teeth professionally whitened. First, it is a more expensive option and because teeth whitening is a cosmetic procedure, almost no insurances will cover the costs. Professional whitening costs on average about $650 which may be too high of a price to pay. Second, professional whitening requires you to schedule an appointment to come into the dental office, rather than doing it from the comfort of your home. This may be difficult to manage with a busy schedule, but there are other professional alternatives, such as take-home teeth whitening trays. These are provided by your dentist after a consultation, but they allow you to control when and where you whiten your teeth. The take-home method is still an expensive option, usually costing around $400 for the kit, but it is more effective than store-bought alternatives.

In the end, when choosing between buying in-store teeth whitening kits and opting for professional techniques, it is up to you to decide what you are willing to spend considering the pros and cons of each method. Most patients start out with in-store methods before going the professional route, so try out all of your options before settling on one!