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Professional Teeth Whitening vs. At-Home Teeth Whitening

Professional Teeth Whitening vs. At-Home Teeth Whitening

If you want whiter teeth, you have two options: using bleaching products you can find at the store (or online) or having your teeth professionally whitened by your dentist in Kearny Mesa. But when it comes to professional teeth whitening vs. at-home kits, they are not the same.

Commercial Teeth Whitening at Home (vs. Dentist Prescribed)

Over-the-counter teeth whitening systems work well for mild stains when used as directed. Most people will see at least 2-3 shades of improvement from commercial strips, trays, or other application methods.

On the other hand, professional teeth whitening can brighten your teeth by several shades (more like 6-8 shades at a time) in the same timeframe. Often in a more cost-effective manner.

Since store-bought kits have to be shaped around your teeth, they often skip over some of the curved surfaces and leave splotchy-looking results. Or they overlap onto your gum tissue, causing burns or bleached gums.

What to Expect from Professional Teeth Whitening

At Landmark Dental Arts, our professional teeth whitening (vs. at-home kits you buy online) is more cost-effective than most people think. Especially since our custom whitening trays and bleaching gel last much longer. You can easily whiten your teeth, then touch them up with a small amount of concentrated gel after checkups. There’s no need to keep purchasing new kits at the store 2-3 times a year.

Custom-fitted whitening trays form around your smile like a retainer, hugging every curve of every tooth. This ensures full contact with the gel everywhere you need it. Since not as much gel is required, you can store it in the refrigerator between touch-ups.

And if you’re short on time, a same-day whitening treatment provides instant results in just one appointment. We simply apply the professional teeth whitening (vs. at-home methods) here in our office and then activate it with a bright light. This oxidation process lifts the deep-set stains in a matter of minutes. We re-apply the gel another 2-3 times until our Kearny Mesa dentists see the results we’re looking for.

Who is a Candidate for Teeth Whitening?

Whether you’re planning to use commercial teeth whitening at home vs. dentist-applied options, you need to first make sure you are a candidate for the treatment. Not everyone is.

Here are some important criteria to keep in mind.

  • Adults or older teens with fully developed teeth.
  • No active cavities or gum disease.
  • No visible restorations (crowns, fillings) in your front teeth.
  • No exposed root surfaces.

If you aren’t up to date on your dental exams, make sure you see a dentist beforehand, regardless of which type of bleaching system you choose. Whitening agents should not be applied if you have oral disease or infection, as they could result in severe discomfort.

Be sure to let our Kearny Mesa dentists know if your teeth are fairly sensitive. There are special steps we can take to adjust your whitening routine to minimize side effects without sacrificing your results.

For individuals with visible dental work in their “smile zone”, we recommend updating those restorations afterward. Since the materials used in fillings or crowns won’t whiten along with your other teeth, they could potentially stand out after applying bleaching agents.

Which One is Right for Me?

Is it wrong to use commercial teeth whitening kits you can find in stores? Not at all. Just keep in mind that you won’t see as drastic of results as what you would with a professional system. If you are a heavy coffee drinker, have naturally dark teeth, or there are other lifestyle factors adding to your tooth discoloration, you may find that the milder commercial kits leave you feeling more frustrated because of the not-as-noticeable difference.

Professional Teeth Whitening Near You

(with fewer side effects.) Whether you prefer something for teeth whitening at home vs. dentist-applied in our office is up to you. Contact our Kearny Mesa office today to reserve a no-obligation consultation.


Landmark Dental Arts
4540 Kearny Villa Road, Suite 116
San Diego, CA 92123
Phone: 858-571-3534
Fax: (858) 571-5826

Monday By Appointment Only
Tuesday 9:00 am - 6:00 pm
Wednesday 9:00 am - 6:00 pm
Thursday 9:00 am - 6:00 pm
Friday By Appointment Only
Saturday Closed
Sunday Closed