In-Office vs. At-Home Teeth Whitening

Ann Arbor Teeth Whitening Dentists Near Me

You know that you want a brighter smile but now it’s time to decide the method by which you’d like to achieve your dream result. Should you choose to have your teeth whitened in our Ann Arbor dental office or in the comfort of your own home?

No matter the method you settle on, teeth whitening can help erase stains left by years of enjoying things like coffee, soda, wine, and tea. Each method has its own set of advantages and ultimately, it’s best to choose what works for you and your lifestyle.

In this blog, we’ll be comparing the two paths you can take with teeth whitening which are in-office and at-home treatment methods.

How is Professional Teeth Whitening Different?

Teeth whitening performed in a professional dental office like ours is a safe, effective way to brighten up your smile by a shade or more.

Compared to over-the-counter whitening products, professional teeth whitening will work faster and will better protect gums and tooth-root surfaces. High-concentration bleaching gels are also used that are not available in stores.

Before we get started, however, it is important to conduct an oral exam to rule out any dental conditions that could be otherwise causing the discoloration.

In-Office Whitening

If you’re someone who wants fast results, in-office teeth whitening is for you. This technique utilizes the most powerful whitening solutions available but don’t worry, our trained cosmetic dentists are there to monitor every step to ensure you’re comfortable.

Some advantages of in-office teeth whitening include:

  • Fast results after one trip to our office
  • Supervision by our dentists ensures no accidental gum irritation
  • Relatively quick procedure
  • Stronger whitening gel

First, our dentists will cover your gums and tooth-root surfaces with a protective barrier to prevent the whitening gel from causing irritation. Next, a thin plastic device, or retractor, will be put in place to hold your lips and cheeks away from your teeth.

With the rest of your mouth protected, a professional-strength hydrogen peroxide gel can now be gently applied. It’s necessary to leave the gel on for about an hour and when it is removed, results will be immediately noticeable.

At-Home Whitening

Would you prefer to be more in control when it comes to whitening your teeth? Maybe you’d also like to whiten them while relaxing at home?

Well, we’ve got the solution for you: at-home teeth whitening. Unlike the in-office whitening method, you will play a greater role in your own results so it’s important to follow the directions given by our dentists.

Some advantages of at-home teeth whitening include:

  • Can be completed at home
  • Easy to follow steps
  • Gradually whitens over a few weeks
  • Professional-grade whitening gel safe to use at home
  • Little to no sensitivity after completion

Our dentists will start by taking a mold of your teeth so two flexible, custom-made mouth trays can be created. A powerful gel formulated to whiten your teeth will be given to you in addition to the trays.

While at home, you will simply fill the trays with the whitening gel and position them over your teeth, top and bottom. It is best if the trays are left in for about an hour at a time each use. Try to ensure the gel only makes contact with your teeth and not your gums.

Please keep in mind that at-home teeth whitening may take several weeks to achieve the shade of white you desire.


You’ll want to take extra precautions to ensure your whitening results last as long as possible which can vary person to person. Please maintain proper oral hygiene by continuing to brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss daily.

Try to avoid foods and beverages that stain your teeth easily and if you smoke, take this as an opportunity to quit. If you want to maintain your newly whitened teeth, it’s necessary!

Also be sure to keep up with professional teeth cleanings every 6 months so we can ensure your teeth and gums are in tip top shape.

Brighten Your Smile Today

Whenever you are ready to pursue a teeth whitening method, our team of cosmetic dentists in Ann Arbor, MI, are here to help you choose what works best for you. To schedule an appointment with us, contact us online or call Excel Dental today at (734) 929-9999.