Teeth Whitening: At-Home and In-Office Treatment Options

Cosmetic Dentistry

In this article, we are going to get up close and look at the types of teeth whitening treatments available. First, it is important to clarify the difference between whitening and bleaching. Products that remove debris from the teeth can be classified as a whitening product. However, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, bleaching as a term can only be used when the product contains bleach, either hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. Some dental professionals prefer carbamide peroxide at low dosages since this solution does not penetrate the teeth as much and therefore teeth sensitivity, inflammation to the soft tissue and enamel erosion to the teeth is minimized.

Ensuring Success

The best candidates to have a successful in-office teeth whitening procedure are those with a moderate degree of extrinsic (surface) teeth discoloration that comes from age and the eating and drinking of foods that, over the years, stained the tooth enamel. The internal (intrinsic) tooth staining from too much fluoride or the taking of tetracycline antibiotics would probably not benefit from a teeth whitening procedure. Also, patients with extensive dental restorations may not benefit from the bleaching process as the color of dental restorations cannot be altered. Teeth whitening done on worn enamel can also result in greater amounts of teeth sensitivity.

Whitening Treatment Options


When different kinds of toothpaste claim to whiten, be sure to read the label to see if it contains bleach. More likely than not, it will only contain an abrasive that will lighten teeth one shade when used diligently and consistently in accordance with good oral hygiene.


Yes, they do contain small amounts of bleach as an ingredient but since the peroxide is only in the mouth for a short time, their whitening effects are limited.

Whitening strips:

These are paper-thin plastic strips coated in peroxide that a person wears on their front teeth for 30 minutes a day, for two weeks straight.  As an over-the-counter product, they get many thumbs up for whitening teeth and results can last at least four months.

At-home care:

There is a means of DIY whitening that is supervised by your dentist. The dentist will provide custom-made whitening trays and a lower dose peroxide, which means that teeth sensitivity issues are not as prevalent in this option. Patients wear the tray anywhere from 30 minutes to a few hours each day. 

In-office whitening:

This treatment is safest and quickest process in teeth whitening as dentists use a concentrated bleaching agent, a special light to help speed up the whitening and all the necessary tools and knowledge to ensure whiter teeth that last.

Zoom whitening:

Zoom whitening treatment for discolored teeth can be done in less than one hour. The Zoom Advanced Power chair-side lamp produces minimum heat, which brings about less discomfort and this Zoom lamp accelerates the peroxide whitening process.

All teeth whitening treatments should be carefully considered. Please contact our office to discuss your options and answer any remaining questions that you have.

The Best Part?

You can request a dental appointment here: https://thelaureldentist.com or call Montpelier Family Dentistry at (301) 605-1132 for an appointment in our Laurel dental office.

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