A Center For Family Dentistry

In-office vs. At-home Teeth Whitening

February 20, 2014 — by Keith Kelley, DDS
Tags: Teeth Whitening Cosmetic Dentistry

Troy Teeth WhiteningOver time it is completely natural for the teeth to lose brilliance and become dull or discolored. Aside from being a natural part of aging, stains and discoloration are a result of over exposure to deeply colored foods and beverages, such as wine, coffee, colas, and berries. Fortunately, the color of the teeth can be improved with teeth whitening treatment. There are many at-home teeth whitening products readily available, but cosmetic dentist Keith Kelley offers his Troy patients professional teeth whitening treatment in-office. This treatment is quick and effective and offers patients many advantages when compared to over-thre-counter at-home teeth whitening alternatives.


Overall, teeth whitening is considered one of the safest cosmetic treatments available. When performed in-office by Dr. Kelley, or at-home, under the supervision of Dr. Kelley, teeth whitening should result in no complications and little or no side effects. Some patients do notice an increase in tooth sensitivity following teeth whitening treatment but this is temporary and should only last for a few days.

Over-the-counter at-home teeth whitening is still a safe cosmetic option, but it does carry a higher risk for side effects or complications. This is because the treatment is applied by individuals who are not experts in the procedure and are more likely to make mistakes with application or leave the bleaching agent on the teeth too long. This, combined with the fact that many over-the-counter whitening strips and trays are ill-fitted, makes it more likely for patients to damage the soft tissues of the mouth or experience increased teeth sensitivity.


The majority of at-home teeth whitening products are bought over-the-counter and are, therefore, not as strong as the professional teeth whitening products offered by dentists. As a result, most at-home products are not as effective or as fast-acting as in-office treatment. On average, it takes several weeks of use for an at-home teeth whitening product to improve the color of the teeth by up to two to three shades. Compared to these results, in-office teeth whitening is much more effective with the average patient leaving with teeth that are eight shades whiter after just one treatment.


The biggest reason that some patients choose at-home teeth whitening treatments over in-office treatment is because they desire the convenience that the products offer. At-home teeth whitening treatments give patients the option of whitening the teeth when and where they prefer. While in-office teeth whitening does require a dental appointment, the appointment should take less than an hour, about the same amount of time required for a bi-annual dental cleaning. Because treatment is so fast, it should be able to fit conveniently into just about any schedule.

Alternate Treatments

In-office teeth whitening can correct the majority of surface stains and greatly improve the appearance of the teeth. However, there are stains and discoloration that cannot be effectively treated by either in-office or at-home teeth whitening treatment. If Dr. Kelley believes that teeth whitening will be ineffective, he can discuss porcelain veneers, a dental restoration that is adhered to the facial surface of the teeth in order to conceal a full range of cosmetic blemishes.

Schedule an Appointment

Professional in-office teeth whitening treatment is safe, effective, and convenient. With the expertise of Dr. Keith Kelley, patients can feel confident knowing that they are getting the best teeth whitening treatment available. Schedule an appointment at your earliest convenience to learn how you can brighten your teeth and improve your smile.

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