Is Teeth Whitening Right For You?

Teeth whitening

Tooth discoloration can increase with age, staining agents like coffee and tea, or lifestyle behaviors such as smoking. For a healthy person with strong enamel and gums, whiter teeth can be accessible with both at-home and in-office whitening treatments. By knowing more about these whitening procedures, you can feel informed when you talk to your dentist about which treatment is right for you.


In-office teeth whitening can yield dramatic results in just one visit. These procedures generally involve a whitening agent applied to the surface of the teeth and a heated light or laser to activate the whitening gel or paste. While methods vary slightly, most patients see results in just one hour-long session with their dentist.

Is in-office whitening right for you?


  • Time-effective: it just takes one or two visits to see results
  • Powerful: teeth are dramatically whiter after one treatment, and results can last months to years
  • Safe: your dentist provides the treatment, meaning you’re always under his or her watchful eye before, during, and after the procedure
  • Easy: these treatments usually don’t hurt, and side effects are minimal


  • Expensive: because insurance typically doesn’t cover cosmetic dental treatments, in-office whitening can be pricey
  • Harsh: sometimes, teeth can feel extra sensitive for a while after treatment, and people with sensitive teeth may experience discomfort during or after the procedure

Bottom line: in-office whitening is a great option for dramatic results in one visit, but may not be financially available to everyone.

Thinking about in-office whitening?
Try the Zoom! Whitening Treatment

Zoom! is a popular in-office whitening treatment that allows for long lasting results. To perform the procedure, your dentist will cover your lips and gums and apply a layer of whitening paste to the surface of your teeth. A laser light then shines on the teeth and whitening agent, helping to break up heavy stains and discoloration. This lasts for 3 rounds of about 15 minutes each.

Afterward, your dentist may give you a custom tray for your teeth, in which you can place more whitening gel to help maintain your new white teeth. “Zoom” allows you to see dramatic results at the dentist’s office, and keep up the white appearance for months afterward with the at-home kit.


If in-office whitening doesn’t sound right for you, consider an at-home or over-the-counter whitening treatment. These kits usually include a tray or mouth guard that fills with whitening gel, or a strip or paste that can be placed on the surface of the teeth.

Is at-home whitening right for you?


  • Inexpensive: these whitening kits can cost as little as $20-30, and can be found at your local drugstore or pharmacy.
  • Gentle: most over-the-counter whitening agents are far gentler than in-office treatments, which is preferable to individuals with sensitive teeth or gums
  • Easy: performed at home, a whitening kit can be used at any time, when it’s convenient for you


  • Less powerful: if your teeth are severely discolored or stained, an at-home whitening treatment may not provide the dramatic results you’re looking for
  • Monotonous: to see lasting results, several applications are required, often over the course of days or weeks

Bottom line: at-home whitening is an inexpensive alternative to in-office whitening, and great for people with light to moderate stains who don’t mind following a daily regimen for several weeks at a time.

Have questions about which whitening procedure is best for you? Contact Hinsdale Dental in Hinsdale, IL today.

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