Teeth Whitening Options: Professional vs. DIY Kits

Each teeth whitening option offers unique benefits and considerations –– from the effectiveness and safety of professional treatments to the convenience and affordability of at-home kits. 

Whether seeking immediate results under the supervision of a cosmetic dentist or prefer the flexibility of whitening your teeth, read on for a detailed comparison.

Option 1: Professional Teeth Whitening

Professional teeth whitening in Worthington, Ohio, is a highly effective method for achieving a brighter smile. It is performed under the supervision of a dental professional. 

This process typically involves the application of a high-concentration peroxide gel to the teeth. To enhance the effectiveness of the gel, dentists may use specialized lights or lasers, which accelerate the bleaching process.

The entire session can last from 30 minutes to an hour, offering noticeable results immediately after treatment.


More effective and faster results

Thanks to the higher concentration of bleaching agents and the use of advanced technology, professional whitening can deliver dramatic results in fewer sessions due to the higher concentration of bleaching agents.

Safety and expertise of dental professionals

With a professional overseeing the procedure, risks such as gum irritation and tooth sensitivity are minimized. 


The expertise, technology, and materials involved in professional whitening make it more expensive than DIY kits. However, the investment often translates to more significant and longer-lasting results.

Moreover, unlike at-home options, professional whitening requires visiting a dental office. For those with busy schedules, finding time for appointments can be a challenge.

Option 2: DIY Teeth Whitening Kits

Catering to those who prefer to enhance their smile from the comfort of their home, DIY teeth whitening kits come in multiple forms, including: 

  • Strips: Thin, flexible pieces coated with a whitening gel that adhere to the front surface of the teeth.
  • Gels: Whitening substances applied directly to the teeth using a small brush or pen.
  • Trays: Mouthguard-like devices filled with a bleaching agent; these trays are worn over the teeth for a specified period.

Using these products typically involves applying the whitening agent to your teeth for a set duration, often ranging from a few minutes to overnight, depending on the product’s instructions. 

The process is usually repeated daily for a period of one to two weeks to achieve the desired results.


These kits can be used at home, on your schedule, without the need to visit a dentist’s office.

Also, over-the-counter whitening products are generally more affordable than professional treatments, making them an attractive option for budget-conscious individuals.


DIY kits have a lower concentration of bleaching agents, making them less effective at removing deep or long-standing stains compared to professional treatments.

Some products, like trays, are one-size-fits-all, which can lead to uneven whitening or missed spots. Additionally, without professional guidance, there’s a higher risk of applying the product incorrectly, which can lead to gum irritation or other adverse effects.

Comparing the Results

Effectiveness and Longevity

Professional Whitening

Offers immediate and noticeable results, often making teeth several shades lighter in just one session. 

Given their superior potency and application techniques, professional methods are especially better at handling severe stains or discoloration.

Depending on your oral hygiene and habits, the effects can last for a year or more.

DIY Kits

With DIY kits, results are more gradual and may require consistent application over several weeks. 

While these in-home teeth whitening strips may be more effective than whitening toothpaste or baking soda, they still don’t match the effectiveness and safety of professional teeth whitening.

Realistic Expectations

Professional Treatments

With professional treatment, you can expect significant whitening, which is suitable for deep stains and achieving better results. It’s ideal for those looking for quick and noticeable improvements.

DIY Whitening

This method is best suited for minor discoloration and maintenance. Expect modest results, with gradual improvement over time.

Safety and Sensitivity Concerns

Teeth whitening, whether done by a professional or a do-it-yourself (DIY) approach, may lead to several safety concerns:

Tooth Sensitivity

Resulting of the activity of bleaching agents that penetrate the tooth enamel to break down discolored molecules, tooth sensitivity can increase substantially post-whitening treatments. Regular use of a desensitizing toothpaste or a fluoride application can help alleviate this sensitivity.

Gum Irritation

Gum irritation or inflammation is triggered when the whitening solution directly contacts the gum tissue. Use a well-fitted mouth tray for your whitening gel or ensuring professional application prevent excess solution from affecting your gums.

Uneven Whitening

Sometimes, the whitening process may not work uniformly across all your teeth, leading to patches of varying shades on the enamel. 

Damage to Dental Restorations

Existing restorations like fillings and crowns cannot be whitened along with natural teeth and might stand out post-treatment. Discuss with your dentist how to match the color of your restorations with your newly whitened teeth.

Increased Risk of Tooth Decay

Without proper aftercare, the whitening process could leave teeth more susceptible to decay. Maintaining good oral hygiene practices like brushing twice a day and regular flossing helps mitigate this risk.

Final Verdict

While DIY kits offer a convenient and cost-effective solution, the results and safety of professional whitening treatments stand out. 

Ultimately, no over-the-counter or DIY teeth whitening method is deemed more effective or safer than professionally whitening your teeth.

For those seeking significant, lasting changes with the guidance of a cosmetic dental professional, visit Dr. Huelsman today.