Types of Professional Teeth Whitening: Which One Is Right for You?

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If you’re here, chances are you’re considering professional teeth whitening. Perhaps you’ve been unhappy with the results you’ve gotten from over-the-counter products, or you just want to get the bright smile of your dreams as quickly as possible. Whatever your reasons are, professional teeth whitening is a great way to help achieve dramatic results. But with more than one option, how do you know which type is right for you?

This article will provide you with a better understanding of professional teeth whitening and its types, including the pros and cons of this dental cosmetic treatment.

What Is Professional Teeth Whitening?

Types of Professional Teeth Whitening: Which One Is Right for You?

Professional teeth whitening is a procedure that involves bleaching teeth using chemicals to remove stains and discolouration from the teeth. These active ingredients are hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide, which break down stains, making them look less concentrated. Because of this, the teeth appear whiter.

Unknown to many, as we age, our teeth will gradually become more yellow than our natural teeth. The enamel (outer part) thins, and the dentin (inner part), which is yellow in colour, becomes more visible. Certain foods and drinks (including coffee, tea, and red wine) can also cause staining. Professional teeth whitening can help address these risk factors and give you back your bright smile.

There are two types of teeth stains that can determine the method of teeth whitening treatment you should consider:

  • Extrinsic Stains
    These are on the enamel surface of your teeth and can be removed with dental cleaning and at-home teeth-whitening products. They usually result from smoking, drinking coffee, tea, or red wine, and can also be caused by certain foods.

  • Intrinsic Stains
    These are deeper stains that penetrate the tooth enamel and require professional teeth whitening to remove. They’re often caused by medications (such as tetracycline), trauma (such as a tooth injury), tooth decay, or ageing.

Types of Professional Teeth Whitening

There are two major professional teeth whitening types, such as:

In-Office/In-Chair Teeth Whitening

This method is done by a dentist or dental professional in a dental office. In-office whitening typically takes 60 to 90 minutes, although it may take longer depending on the severity of your teeth stains and discolouration. Also, you may need one or two more sessions to achieve your desired results.

Here’s what to expect at your appointment:

  • Your dentist or dental professional will assess your overall dental condition. They may also take X-rays to ensure that you have good oral health to undergo the procedure.

  • Once they have determined that you are a good candidate, they will protect your lips and gums with a barrier gel or rubber dam. This step prevents the bleaching agent from contacting your gums and causing irritation.

  • They will then apply the bleaching agent (hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide) to your teeth and use a laser or special light to activate it. They will check if you’re experiencing discomfort and adjust the light accordingly.

  • After the bleaching agent has been applied, they will rinse it off and may use a fluoride gel to help reduce sensitivity. Your dentist may recommend one or two more sessions to achieve your desired level of whiteness.

Before you leave their dental clinic, they will instruct you on how to take care of your teeth. Sometimes, your dentist may combine in-office teeth whitening with at-home treatment (custom-fitted tray) to help you achieve optimal results.

At-Home Professional Teeth Whitening

This method uses custom-made teeth whitening trays fitted to your teeth, which you can use in the comfort of your home. The tray has bleaching gel and is worn for a certain period of time, typically 30 to 60 minutes per day. The amount of time you have to wear the tray depends on the severity of staining and discolouration and your dentist’s recommendations.

This product is only available through a dentist as they need to take an impression of your teeth to make the custom-made tray. You may pick it up after a few days or have it mailed to you.

The dentist will also give you specific instructions on how to use the tray, the amount of bleaching gel to use, and aftercare instructions.

Are Professional Teeth Whitening Treatments Safe?

Teeth whitening is often safe when done by a dentist or a qualified dental professional. In fact, it is among the most popular cosmetic dental procedures because it’s generally safe, quick and more affordable than other dental treatments. However, if you have oral issues like gum disease, cavities, or other dental problems, your dentist may resolve these issues first before starting the teeth whitening treatment. They may also recommend other alternatives that address your specific dental needs, such as:

Pros and Cons of Professional Teeth Whitening Treatment

Types of Professional Teeth Whitening: Which One Is Right for You?

Now that we know professional teeth whitening is a safe procedure, let’s look at some of the pros and cons of both in-office and at-home teeth whitening. Below is a list that you should consider before deciding which treatment is right for you.

In-Office Professional Teeth Whitening


  • The results are immediate.

  • No or fewer risks due to using the wrong concentration of bleaching gel or wearing the trays for too long, as this will be done by a professional.

  • Your dentist provides protection to your gums and soft tissues from the bleaching gel with a rubber dam or gel.


  • It’s more expensive than at-home teeth whitening.

  • You may experience temporary mild to moderate tooth sensitivity during and after the treatment, but this should go away after a few days.
At-Home Professional Teeth Whitening


  • It’s more affordable than in-chair teeth whitening.

  • You can do it at your own time and convenience.


  • The results are not as immediate as in-office teeth whitening.

  • You have to be careful not to use too much bleaching gel or wear the trays for an extended time than your dentist’s instruction, as this can irritate your gums.

Dental Problems That Professional Teeth whitening Can Address

Professional teeth whitening can help address most types of tooth stains and discolouration, including:

  • Extrinsic staining (surface stains)

  • Intrinsic staining (deep stains)

  • Age-related yellowing or darkening of the teeth

  • Discolouration caused by certain medications

What to Expect After Professional Teeth Whitening Treatment

Types of Professional Teeth Whitening: Which One Is Right for You?
  1. Whiter Teeth
    The treatment results will depend on the type of teeth whitening procedure you choose and the severity of your staining and discolouration. However, most people can expect to see a significant difference in the whiteness of their teeth, especially if they religiously follow their dentist’s aftercare instructions.

  2. Improved Self-Confidence
    One of the most common benefits patients experiences after teeth whitening is an improvement in self-confidence. As you know, a whiter and brighter smile can do wonders for your self-esteem, not to mention first impressions. This is especially helpful if you are in sales or customer service or just want to feel good about yourself.

  3. Temporary Tooth Sensitivity
    Some patients may experience temporary tooth sensitivity to hot and cold foods and beverages after teeth whitening. Though this is normal and should resolve on its own within a few days, contact your dentist if it persists. This is more common in the case of a take-home whitening kit, especially if you don’t follow the instructions properly.

  4. Gum/Gingival Irritation
    Bleaching agents can cause gum irritation in some patients. If you use a take-home teeth whitening kit, you must follow your dentist’s instructions carefully. This rarely occurs in the in-chair whitening method because dentists take measures to protect your gums. Plus, they assess your oral health before starting the treatment to ensure that you won’t have any problems during and after the procedure.

Can Anyone Undergo Teeth Whitening Treatment?

Not everyone can have teeth whitening. This includes over-the-counter teeth whitening products, such as whitening gels, because the bleaching agents can cause more harm than good in certain cases. You shouldn’t undergo teeth whitening if you have the following conditions:

  • Decayed Teeth
    If you have decayed teeth, it’s best to have them managed before undergoing any cosmetic dental procedure. This is because the bleaching agents can cause further irritation and sensitivity to your already damaged teeth.

  • Damaged Teeth
    If you have cracked, chipped, or otherwise damaged teeth, it’s best to avoid teeth whitening until your dentist repairs them. Otherwise, the bleaching agents may cause further damage to your teeth and their pulp (tooth nerve).

  • Sensitive Teeth
    You may want to avoid teeth whitening as the bleaching agents can cause further sensitivity if you have this condition. If you really want to undergo the treatment, consult your dentist first to see if there are any ways to minimise the discomfort.

  • Pregnant or Breastfeeding Women
    It’s best to avoid teeth whitening if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, as there is not enough research yet on the effects of bleaching agents on unborn and newborn babies.

  • People with Certain Allergies
    If you have allergies, it’s best to consult your dentist first, as some teeth whitening products contain chemicals that can trigger allergies.

  • Children below the Age of 16
    Children’s teeth are still developing, and thus, they may be more susceptible to the side effects of bleaching agents. As such, it’s best to avoid teeth whitening if your child is under 16.

Can Your Health Fund cover Teeth Whitening Treatment?

Health funds do not typically cover teeth whitening because it’s considered a cosmetic procedure. However, some health fund providers may cover a portion of the cost if it’s deemed medically necessary. For example, your fund may cover part of the cost if you undergo teeth whitening to prepare for another dental procedure.

It’s best to contact your insurance provider beforehand to check if they offer any coverage for teeth whitening. Many dental clinics offer flexible payment options to help you with the cost.

Keep in Mind

Whether you use a take-home teeth whitening kit or get it done in the dentist’s office, you must remember that the results are not permanent and come with potential risks. Touch-ups on your teeth may be necessary every few months to maintain your whitened teeth. You must also practice measures, such as good oral hygiene and lifestyle habits, to maintain your results.

While both types can make your teeth’s colour several shades lighter, in-office treatment provides more dramatic results. It is also more long-lasting and safer since dentists can better monitor and control the application of bleaching agents.

Do you think you need professional teeth whitening?

Contact Comfort Care Dental now at (08) 9349-0800 to book an appointment. We provide various dental care services, including in-office and take-home teeth whitening treatments, to help you achieve the whiter and brighter smile you have wanted. You can also drop by our office, which is conveniently located at 210 Jones Street, Balcatta, Western Australia 6021. Our friendly and compassionate dentists will be more than happy to assess your needs and recommend the best treatment for you.


Dr. Karthik Lakkaraju

For Dr Karthik, dentistry is the complete package. He most enjoys the feeling he gets when he sees a patient achieve a beautiful smile, or can put an end to pain and increase the quality of life. He believes oral health is a mirror of general health and reflects the person’s personality and confidence.

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At Comfort Care Dental, we offer quality care and individualized treatment plans. Our team is passionate about oral health and invested in helping our patients achieve their dental goals. Schedule an appointment with us today to start on the path to a healthy smile!

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