Professional Teeth Whitening vs. Over-the-Counter At-Home Teeth Whitening: Which is Better?

Teeth whitening

If you are looking to brighten your smile, you have probably considered a teeth whitening procedure. Most dentists offer both in-office and at-home professional teeth whitening options; however, some people opt to buy over-the-counter at-home teeth whitening kits.

Everyone wants a pearly white smile, but deciding between professional whitening and OTC kits is difficult. You need to look at the safety and efficacy of each to decide.

Professional Teeth Whitening

Professional teeth whitening services vary, but most dentists offer two types of whitening procedures, in-office and at-home follow-up kits.


In-office teeth whitening is the most effective, efficient, and safe method for teeth whitening. At Hinsdale Dental, our dentists use Phillips Zoom! Whitening to lighten stains and discoloration. This chairside process takes only 45 minutes, and you see results in just one day. Treatments like Phillips Zoom are highly customizable to your body’s unique chemistry, so you get the best results.


Your dentist may also offer an at-home whitening kit. These are not the same as OTC whitening kits. The kit used by your dentist, such as the NiteWhite ACP treatment, is a professional whitening kit with a custom-fitted tray that is often given to patients after an initial whitening session. With a dentist-approved at-home whitening system, you can keep your smile white, reduce sensitivity, and even rebuild the enamel layer on your teeth.

Efficacy and Safety

Professional teeth whitening is safe and effective. You see a brighter smile in just one 45 minute visit. Side effects such as tooth sensitivity or gum irritation are possible; however, these are usually temporary.

At-Home Over the Counter (OTC) Teeth Whitening

OTC teeth whitening kits are teeth whitening products that are purchased at a store and do not require a visit to the dentist. OTC teeth whitening products include gel strips, whitening toothpaste, or other products that claim to brighten your smile. Although some OTC products bear the American Dental Association’s Seal of Acceptance, they are not as effective as professional whitening services.

For instance, professional teeth whitening services contain a special type of peroxide in their kits. Even if an OTC is approved by the ADA and contains this peroxide, it does not have it in the same concentration as a professional whitening kit. This means that your OTC strips cannot noticeably brighten your smile unless you use them repeatedly for a longer amount of time. Unfortunately, repeated use is more likely to cause tooth sensitivity or pain.

The Verdict: Leave it to the Professionals

Professional teeth whitening is safer and more effective than OTC teeth whitening kits. OTC costs less upfront, but the repeated use and inconsistent results cost more in the long run. Dentists use powerful, safe bleaching kits with better ingredients that cost you less in time and worry.

Visit Hinsdale Dental for a Whiter Smile

Professional teeth whitening services are the safest, most effective way to brighten your smile. Call Hinsdale Dental to schedule a teeth whitening consultation. We’d love to discuss our teeth whitening options with you to determine which works best for your needs.

Return to Blog