Is Professional Teeth Whitening Better Than DIY?

professional teeth whitening

Have you used DIY teeth whitening methods?

Teeth whitening is a simple and effective way to improve your smile and boost your confidence. This treatment has become increasingly popular, which has led to more private companies offering in-home DIY kits to customers who don’t want to make the trip to the dentist. While a DIY solution may seem like the more attractive option, it comes with certain disadvantages that may outweigh the advantages. Here is a closer look at the differences between at-home and professional teeth whitening and why you should consider visiting a professional.

Before You Whiten Your Teeth

Many patients focus on the whiteness of their teeth and forget that there can be deeper, more serious oral health issues that need to be addressed. When you get your teeth whitened by a dentist, your treatment will begin with a thorough examination and cleaning. This will help remove plaque and identify cavities and other oral health problems before you start tackling more cosmetic issues. Your dentist will also be able to offer tips and advice to help you avoid further staining and maintain your teeth.

With a DIY kit, it is easy to ignore common problems, like gum disease and tooth decay. You may be able to get your teeth a few shades whiter, but it is important to remember that whiteness isn’t necessarily tied to overall oral health.

Safety Precautions

At-home teeth whitening kits come with instructions, but many people assume that more is better and use extra gel or leave the treatment on for longer than the recommended time. This can cause gum irritation and tooth sensitivity, especially in those who already experience sensitive teeth.

A dentist will determine whether or not you are a good candidate for teeth whitening, so you can avoid any discomfort. They will also take extra steps to protect your gums and make sure that all the products are used safely and properly to ensure optimal results without any adverse side effects.

Consistent Coloring

If you have composite or porcelain crowns, DIY home whitening may not be the right choice for you. These products can make it difficult to achieve consistent whiteness, especially if you have extensive dental work. Any bonding or crowns may not whiten the same as your natural teeth, causing an uneven look.

A dentist will be familiar with different dental materials and how they respond to whitening products. This allows them to create a consistently white look across all your teeth for a brighter, whiter smile.

Customized Treatment

There are a wide variety of at-home teeth whitening kits. Some options include teeth whitening strips, one-size-fits-all trays, gels, and blue light treatments. Because these products are mass produced, many of them don’t come with any customizable options, which can make them clunky to use. The strips can easily slide off, and the trays don’t provide a tight fit.

Working with a dentist means you will enjoy a customized treatment. Whether you get custom trays that are molded to fit your teeth or a gel application that includes gum protection and expert application, you know that you are receiving the best treatment that has been designed to fit your mouth and your specific needs.

Final Results

It should come as no surprise that professional whitening treatments provide better, longer-lasting results. While there are different whiteners and treatments available, these professional-grade approaches utilize the best technology and the most potent products to offer patients a safe and effective way to whiten their teeth. Depending on how many treatments you receive, you can see results that typically range from three to eight shades whiter.

At-home kits don’t offer the same concentration of teeth whitening chemicals. This helps to keep customers safer, but it also means that you may end up purchasing several kits without achieving the same results as you would with one visit to the dentist. The DIY approach can offer a quick fix and some noticeable results, but it doesn’t compare to professional teeth whitening.


Perhaps the biggest reason that people turn to DIY kits is because they appear to be less expensive. Professional teeth whitening is considered a cosmetic procedure, which means it isn’t covered by insurance and patients must pay out-of-pocket. This expense often sends people to their local drugstore looking for more affordable alternatives.

However, it is important to remember that there is a difference between price and value. At first glance, it seems obvious that at-home kits are cheaper. But not so fast. You also have to factor in how many treatments you will need and the overall results. If you opt for a mid-range at-home kit but you have to undergo several treatments over time and your teeth are only minimally whiter, you could end up spending more without achieving the dramatic results you were looking for.

Meanwhile, you could have spent around the same amount to receive a safe, professional treatment that significantly improved the whiteness of your teeth. In this way, a quick glance at the numbers can be deceiving. Ultimately, a professional whitening provides the better value while also protecting your overall oral health. In addition, your dentist may offer payment plans, so you don’t have to worry about paying the entire cost upfront.

The DIY teeth whitening approach can be an attractive option that seems like a good way to save money. However, in the end, there is no comparing the benefits of a professional cleaning to the potential cost cutting of an at-home kit. If you would like to learn more about professional teeth whitening treatments, costs, and payment options, contact Monroe Family Dentistry today. Our staff is happy to answer your questions and help you schedule an appointment, so you can enjoy brighter, healthier teeth.