What’s the Difference Between Teeth Whitening at the Dentist and Over the Counter Options?

Patients today have more options than ever when it comes to whitening teeth and transforming the overall appearance of the smile. Cosmetic teeth whitening treatments are so popular because they are easy, effective, and fast. Our Boca Raton dental office uses cosmetic dentistry to whiten enamel, sometimes by several shades, in just one or two appointments.

Patients often want to know the differences between over the counter whitening treatments and professional bleaching formulations. Both home and professional whitening treatments are actually bleaching products—they utilize hydrogen or carbamide peroxide to bleach dental enamel and stains. Here I provide a brief overview of some of the pros and cons of professional and at-home whitening products, respectively.


Professional whitening treatments are more effective than at-home products because they utilize a higher concentration of whitening agents. Because they are applied by a professional, these more potent concentrations deliver more predictable and reliable results.


Patients generally see results from professional whitening treatments in only one or two appointments. Self-administered whitening treatments may not work for weeks or months, and they still wont deliver the same level of whitening that professional treatments do. You can use over the counter products, however, at your own pace when it is convenient for you, while professional treatments require a dental appointment.


Professional whitening treatments are more expensive than at-home treatments, though they are increasingly less expensive. The cost is commensurate with the effectiveness and fast acting results.

Long-Term Results

A dental professional can help you maintain your white smile for a long period of time. After your initial treatment your dentist can provide you with home maintenance kits to keep your smile white at home.

Professional whitening treatments will give you faster, more effective, and more reliable results than over the counter formulations. While at-home products generally cost a little less than professional formulations, and they can be used when it’s convenient for you. Regardless of how you choose to whiten your enamel, check with a dental professional to make sure that whitening your teeth is appropriate for your oral health.

Give our us a call to learn more about cosmetic dentistry in Boca Raton or to schedule an appointment.


Dr. Martin Polin, DMD & Dr. Carly Polin, DMD‎
2600 North Military Trail
Boca Raton, FL 33431
(561) 997-2323‎

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