Cosmetic Dentistry |3 min read

Professional Teeth Whitening vs. Over-the-Counter Methods


If you’ve been on the hunt for the best teeth whitening method, then you know there are a lot of options out there. But which options will provide quality results, or be worth the time and effort?

Let’s break down what’s available so you can make the best choice!

Over-the-counter whitening kits

There are plenty of over-the-counter kits available in stores or online.

Most of these kits just include the whitening gel and tray, or strips to apply yourself.


Their results get iffy as these kits aren’t customized to your smile.

At-home whitening treatments

The desire for a bright smile has people mixing household ingredients together in hopes of achieving high-quality results. Baking soda and hydrogen peroxide is a popular combination.


Overuse can erode the enamel on your teeth.

To protect your smile, we suggest speaking with your Durham dentist before trying any type of at-home method.

Professional teeth whitening treatment

In about an hour, you can walk out of your dentist’s office with a sparkling new smile.

Dentists use professional whitening gels that contain anywhere from 25% to 40% hydrogen peroxide (the whitening agent).

Store-bought treatments usually contain anywhere from 3% to 20% hydrogen peroxide.


The results between professional teeth whitening and DIY whitening differ greatly.

And it gets better:

After the whitening agent is applied, your cosmetic dentist will use a special light that works with the gel to whiten your teeth! Simple as that.

Here’s why you should see your dentist for teeth whitening

Easy application

Have you ever tried to apply a whitening strip yourself? It’s a battle!

Once the strip is on, it slides around as you try to navigate the rest of your day. Because it’s not secure, your smile misses out on the full whitening effect.

But, with professional teeth whitening:

Your dentist can quickly provide results with no mess or daily maintenance.

With a professional at-home kit, you won’t need to wear the treatment all day. It’s also customized to fit your mouth, keeping you comfortable, and less distracted throughout the day.

Expect quality results

It’s safe to say there’s a reason we have professionals!

By seeing your dentist, you won’t need to worry about the quality of your teeth whitening treatment. Our office has performed hundreds of whitening treatments, so you’re always in good hands with our team!

Many over-the-counter whitening kits are not federally regulated, so we don’t know what’s in the whitening agent. Seeing a professional is the safest way to protect your smile.


Boxed whitening products can whiten your teeth about 1-3 shades lighter, while professional teeth whitening can get you 8-10 shades lighter! This is because over-the-counter products only remove surface stains and are often weaker than professional-grade materials.

Save time with less maintenance

Professional teeth whitening can last for up to three years, while over-the-counter kits require frequent maintenance. By trusting your dentist, you’ll save time and get gorgeous results.

Over-the-counter products only work well on the front six teeth. They won’t brighten your entire smile! This means more work (and money) to get the results you’re dreaming of.

Home care tips for post-professional teeth whitening

If you’ve decided to utilize professional teeth whitening services, you’ll want to protect your investment afterward.

Here are a few tips to maintain your sparkling smile:

  • Use a whitening toothpaste
  • Avoid dark-colored beverages like red wine and coffee
  • Avoid foods that’ll stain your teeth
  • Cut out all tobacco products
  • Keep up your regular oral hygiene routine

Are you ready to show off a bright smile?

If you’re looking for an inexpensive and effective teeth whitening solution, Croasdaile Dental Arts has you covered!

Our Durham doctors are prepared to help you find the perfect results that fit your needs.

Talk to Our Team

Contact us to schedule your teeth whitening appointment:

Croasdaile Dental Arts happily serves patients in Durham, Raleigh, Hillsborough, Chapel Hill, Mebane, and Timberlake.