There are a few ways to whiten your teeth. You can buy a whitening product at the grocery store or drugstore, or you can have a cosmetic teeth whitening treatment from a dentist. Dentist treatments include custom bleaching trays you use at home and in-office treatments.

Deciding between OTC whitening products, custom trays, and in-office treatments may be a matter of what your budget can afford or how quickly you want results. Here's a look at choosing the right teeth whitening treatment for you.


If cost is a major concern, you may want to try a whitening product you buy from the store and use it yourself. These have a lower concentration of bleach, so they work more slowly. It could take a long time to see results, but you won't have to spend a lot of money.

The most expensive option is in-office teeth whitening where the dentist uses a high-concentration of hydrogen peroxide and a LED light to whiten your teeth several shades. The middle-price treatment is custom bleach kits supplied by your dentist. You can talk to your dentist to get price quotes for the treatments so you decide what's best for your budget.

Fast Results

If you want results fast for an event, in-office whitening is the best option since it can be done during a single visit. You might require more than one visit if your teeth have stubborn stains, so it's still a good idea to allow plenty of time between your dental appointment and the event so your teeth will be as white as you want them.

The bleaching kits you get from your dentist can get results in several days to a couple of weeks. They can give you comparable results to the in-office visit, but the results take longer to see, and you need to use the whitening trays every day. Store-bought kits take the longest to get results, so you'll need to start using a whitening product several weeks to months before the event.


When you get an in-office treatment, your treatment is supervised by a dentist, so you'll be as comfortable as possible. Your gums are protected from irritation with a rubber dam, and there is no pain involved. Since this cosmetic teeth whitening treatment uses a high concentration of bleach, your teeth might be sensitive for a few days afterward, but the effect shouldn't be permanent.

The bleaching kit your dentist provides is designed for safe use and for gum protection too. Wearing the trays may seem uncomfortable, but you get used to having them in your mouth for the prescribed time. This cosmetic teeth whitening treatment can also cause temporary tooth sensitivity.

Home whitening kits are used without supervision from a dentist, so it's possible for the risk of gum irritation and misuse to be higher. The trays may not fit as well and cause mouth soreness or discomfort. However, home kits can be used in different ways, so you may try a few to find one that fits well and that you can tolerate to use for the long term.

For more information on cosmetic teeth whitening, contact a professional near you.