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Professional Teeth Whitening vs At-Home Options

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6th July 2023

Professional Teeth Whitening vs At-Home Options

Professional Teeth Whitening vs At-Home Options: Which One Is Right for You?

A bright and confident smile can make a world of difference in our lives. However, over time, our teeth may become discoloured due to various factors, and this can affect our self-esteem. Teeth whitening is a popular and effective solution to restore the natural whiteness of our teeth. But with so many options available, such as professional teeth whitening treatments at dental practices and at-home teeth whitening kits, it can be challenging to decide which option is best for you.

In this comprehensive guide, we will discuss and compare the various teeth whitening options available, their pros and cons, and help you make an informed decision. We will also provide some insights into the teeth whitening services offered at Crescent Lodge Dental Practice, located in Clapham Common, London.


At Crescent Lodge Dental Practice, located in Clapham Common, London, we understand the importance of a radiant smile and offer a range of teeth whitening options to suit your needs and budget. We believe that everyone deserves to feel confident with their smile, and our experienced dentists are here to help you achieve the perfect, whiter teeth you’ve always wanted.

Causes of Discoloured Teeth

Before discussing teeth whitening options, it is essential to understand the causes of tooth discolouration. Several factors can contribute to discoloured teeth, including:

  • Food and Drink: Beverages like coffee, tea, and red wine contain colour pigments called chromogens that attach to tooth enamel and cause discolouration or staining.
  • Tobacco Use: Tar and nicotine in tobacco lead to tough stains on teeth. Tar is naturally dark, while nicotine turns yellowish when mixed with oxygen.
  • Age: As we age, tooth enamel gets thinner, revealing the yellowish dentin layer beneath.
  • Trauma: Mouth injuries can cause tooth discoloration due to inadequate blood flow.
  • Medications: Some medications, including antihistamines, antipsychotics, and high blood pressure medications, may cause tooth darkening as a side effect. Chemotherapy and neck radiation may also darken teeth.

How Does Teeth Whitening Work?

Teeth whitening products contain tooth bleaches like hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. These ingredients break stains into smaller pieces and reduce the concentration of colour, making your teeth brighter.

Does Teeth Whitening Work on All Teeth?

Unfortunately, teeth whitening doesn’t work on all teeth. It is crucial to consult your dentist to determine the right procedure for your teeth. Whitening may not be effective for certain types of staining and discolouration. Yellowed teeth usually bleach well, while brown teeth may not respond as well, and grey-toned teeth may not bleach at all. Furthermore, whitening will not work on dental appliances like caps, veneers, crowns, or fillings.

Teeth Whitening Options

There are various teeth whitening options, both professional and at-home. It is essential to consult your dentist before beginning any treatment plan. Most teeth whitening options fall into one of three categories:

Whitening Toothpaste

Whitening toothpaste works to remove surface stains on your teeth. These toothpastes are the gentlest whiteners, making them suitable for people with sensitive teeth. Whitening toothpastes use a polishing action instead of bleaching chemicals, so they usually don’t have adverse side effects. However, they don’t whiten teeth as noticeably as chemical products and require repeated use over weeks or months to show visible results.

At-Home Teeth Whitening

At-home whitening kits can be purchased from your dentist or over the counter. These kits include whitening strips, trays, lights, rinses, and brushes. They usually contain peroxide, which works below the surface to lighten tooth enamel when used regularly over days or weeks.

Your dentist may provide you with custom whitening trays to fit your teeth better than one-size-fits-all trays available in stores. With these custom trays, you’ll apply the whitening gel and wear them for short periods during the day or overnight, depending on your dentist’s advice. Overuse of the trays may cause irritation to your teeth and gums, so follow your dentist’s instructions.

Professional Teeth Whitening

Professional teeth whitening is done in a dental office. In-office whiteners are stronger than at-home alternatives due to higher peroxide concentration in the solution. They can change the colour of your teeth faster than at-home methods.

In-office whitening takes about an hour. To protect the mouth from the peroxide, the gum tissues are covered with a thin rubber sheet or protective gel. Sometimes, a light or laser is used in conjunction with the peroxide.

Differences Between Professional Teeth Whitening and At-Home Teeth Whitening

There are several main differences between at-home and professional teeth whitening, but the best course of action depends on the results you’re looking to achieve and your overall oral health.


The time it takes to whiten your teeth at home versus at the dentist’s office to achieve comparable results is significant. At the dentist’s office, you may spend 1-2 hours but leave with teeth 8 shades whiter, whereas at home, you will have to spend 1-2 hours per day over a series of days or weeks for your teeth to become 3-6 shades whiter.


While at-home kits average around $50, teeth whitening at the dental office will run closer to $300 or more. Professional teeth whitening offers faster results than at-home solutions, which often require multiple kits to achieve and maintain whitening. At-home kits may also produce inconsistent results depending on your teeth and oral health.


Since in-clinic whitening can penetrate deeper below the tooth surface due to the concentration of the solution, your teeth will stay whiter longer compared to at-home teeth whitening methods.

In-Office vs At-Home Teeth Whitening: Candidacy, Safety, and Cost

In-office teeth whitening is typically recommended for people with healthy teeth and gums. During your consultation, your dentist will conduct a thorough oral health examination. Any underlying conditions, such as tooth decay or gum disease, must first be addressed before your dentist will perform in-office whitening.

At-home teeth whitening is even more widely accessible than in-office whitening, but if you suffer from oral health issues, you may end up causing yourself significant pain and damage to your teeth and gums. Dentist-dispensed home whiteners will not be provided to anyone who does not first pass a basic oral health screening.

Zoom Whitening and Philips Zoom Whitening

Zoom Whitening and Philips Zoom Whitening are popular teeth whitening treatments that offer both in-office and take-home options. Here’s a brief overview of these treatments:

Zoom In-Practice Whitening

Zoom in-practice whitening is a quick and effective solution for patients with strongly yellow or brown teeth or grey stained teeth. The treatment takes about 30 minutes and uses a varnish of 20% hydrogen peroxide. After the varnish is applied, a sealant layer locks it in place. After about 30 minutes, the patient brushes or wipes off the thin film, revealing a brighter smile.

Philips Zoom Take-Home Whitening Kit

Philips Zoom offers take-home whitening treatments: DayWhite and NiteWhite. DayWhite uses a hydrogen peroxide formulation, while NiteWhite contains carbamide peroxide. The formulations consist of three powerful ingredients: amorphous calcium phosphate (ACP), potassium nitrate, and fluoride. These components work together to whiten teeth while reducing sensitivity at the same time.

The take-home bleaching gel contains ACP, which enhances the smoothness and glossiness of teeth while providing at least 10% better long-term whitening effectiveness compared to traditional bleaching products.

Teeth Whitening Services at Crescent Lodge Dental Practice

At Crescent Lodge Dental Practice, located in Clapham Common, London, we offer a range of teeth whitening services to suit your needs and budget. Our experienced dentists provide both in-office and at-home teeth whitening solutions, using the latest technologies and techniques.

We offer Philips Zoom Whitening treatments, which are highly effective and safe for our patients. Our dental professionals will help you choose the best teeth whitening method based on your individual needs and preferences. To ensure the highest level of patient satisfaction, we also provide post-treatment care and advice to help you maintain your newly brightened smile.


Teeth whitening is a popular and cost-effective way to enhance your smile and boost your confidence. With various professional and at-home teeth whitening options available, it is crucial to consult your dentist and find the best solution for your needs. If you’re considering teeth whitening, visit us at Crescent Lodge Dental Practice in Clapham Common, London, to discuss your options and achieve the radiant smile you deserve or contact us here today!