Professional vs. DIY Whitening: Which is Better?

If your pearly whites are not as bright as you want them to be, then you probably know that the best solution for this problem is teeth whitening in San Diego.

But with many options ranging from laser whitening to the less expensive at-home kits, how would you know which one is the best for you.

To help you decide, here are some factors that you should consider when choosing between professional whitening and DIY whitening.


If money is the main problem, then DIY whitening is the best option you have. At $15 to $100 tops, they are much cheaper than professional whitening, which costs at least $500 to more than $1200.  The only downside is, you will have to use the DIY whitening kit every day for a couple of months to weeks – but the results are guaranteed.

Meanwhile, you usually need only one appointment for professional whitening.

A severity of Discoloration:

If your teeth are mildly discolored, then DIY whitening must be enough for you. However, if the discoloration is moderate to severe, professional whitening may be required because it uses whitening agents that are in much stronger concentrations. This whitening agent is activated a laser light to produce the whitening effect.

Teeth Whitening

Some causes of severe discolorations, however, may need the combined effect of both professional and DIY teeth whitening.

A risk to Dental Health:

The most common side effect of whitening procedures to the dentition is sensitivity which, although short-term (lasts for a day up to four days), can sometimes be uncomfortable for the patient.

Since professional whitening uses stronger whitening agents, sensitivity tends to be worse compared to that of DIY whitening, which has very minimal to none.

Another common side effect is an irritation to the surrounding soft tissues. Which, again, tends to be worse in professional whitening. Your dentist can avoid this by putting a protective gel on the gums.

But if the irritation persists and/or get worse after the procedure, be sure to inform your dentist right away.

Expected Results:

Professional whitening can lighten the teeth by up to seven shades lighter than its original color. Meanwhile, the whitening solutions used in DIY whitening may be too mild to produce dramatic results, especially on severely-discolored teeth. Then again, professional and DIY whitening may be combined if you’re looking for dramatic improvements.

How to Maintain Teeth Whitening :

Teeth whitening treatments, be it professionally-performed or DIY, don’t last forever and will have to be touched-up at some point.

On the average, professional whitening can last up to a year, while DIY whitening can only last half that time.

Take note that these durations are only the average, and can be shorter and longer depending on several factors. These include diet, habits, and oral hygiene practices to name a few. If you smoke and/or consume dark-colored foods and beverages,(i.e. berries, coffee, tea) on a regular basis. Then you will be needing touchups much sooner and more often.

On the other hand, good oral hygiene practices shall make the whitening effect last much longer.

Teeth Whitening: Frequently Asked Questions

Teeth whitening is one of the most popular cosmetic dentistry procedures today, and that is for one very simple reason: your smile is among the first things people notice about you.

If your pearly whites aren’t as “white” as they are supposed to, then that might give a little bit of a thumbs down.

If you looking to undergo teeth whitening to bring back that spark in your smile, then might as well learn more about the procedure.

Listed here are some of the most common questions patients have regarding teeth whitening.

What is teeth whitening?

Teeth whitening is a cosmetic dental procedure wherein your dentist restores the natural color of your teeth by removing stains on the enamel and applying a specially-formulated whitening product.

It is different from teeth bleaching, which involves whitening the teeth beyond its normal color through professional application of products that contain peroxides.

Today, “whitening” and “bleaching” are used interchangeably and practically means the same thing for patients.

How is teeth whitening done?

Your dentist will first perform a thorough dental examination to determine if you are suited to undergo teeth whitening. Take note that both teeth whitening and bleaching can only target extrinsic stains.

If the discoloration is caused by intrinsic stains (flurosis, tooth decay, etc), then neither whitening nor bleaching can solve the problem.

Once cleared, your dentist will now present you with two options – to have the whitening done in the clinic or at home with a teeth whitening kit.

In chairside whitening, which is done at the dental clinic, your dentist will first put a rubber shield or use a special gel on your gums to protect it from the whitening agent.

Once the gums are fully-protected, the whitening or bleaching agent – also in gel form – will now be applied on your teeth.

This whitening agent contains either carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide and is activated by a special blue light.

For at-home whitening kits your dentist will first take an impression of your upper and lower teeth.

This will help create a replica of your teeth which, in turn, will be used to fabricate custom-made trays that fit perfectly in your mouth. This tray will serve as vehicle for the whitening agent that will be provided by your dentist as part of the kit.

You will be provided with instructions as to how much gel should be used and how often you have to apply it.

How many appointments does chair-side whitening require?

It depends on how discolored your teeth are prior to the treatment, and how much whiter you wish them to be. Typically, it takes at least three appointments to see the difference.

In each appointment, your dentist will monitor the improvements and provide you with further instructions as needed.

How long will the effect of teeth whitening last?

On the average, the whitening effect lasts for up to three years, but it can be shorter or longer depending on your behavior and habits.

Shorter effects are expected in patients who smoke, or those who love to consume heavily-colored food and beverages. Not to mention, poor oral hygiene can also cause your teeth to darken much faster.

Will teeth whitening affect my existing restorations?

Whitening agents have very little or no effect at all to restorative materials. They do, however, affect the bond strength of composite filling to the tooth enamel.

But this effect is only temporary and won’t cause the restoration to fall off. A consultation with your dentist should answer concerns like this before the actual whiting procedure.

Is teeth whitening safe?

Both teeth whitening and bleaching are absolutely safe if done by well-trained licensed dentist. There will be some sensitivity after the procedure, but it is only temporary and should go away after a day or two.

None of the whitening or bleaching agents used should cause damage to tooth structure. With regards to at-home whitening kits, there shouldn’t be any problem as long as you follow your dentist’s instructions thoroughly

How much does teeth whitening cost?

The cost of teeth whitening varies, ranging from a measly $20 to a whopping $1000. Chairside whitening costs $300-800 on the average, while at-home kits are only a bit cheaper at $200-600. And since teeth whitening is done mainly for cosmetic purposes, dental insurance plans don’t cover it.

Understanding Teeth Whitening In a Better Way

All of your favorite stars have done it.

You can be pretty sure that at least 10 moms from your kid’s class have had it. And the teeth whitening ads that you see everywhere are very tempting.

The only thing that’s holding you back is the fact that you’re not sure if you need it or that you understand what whitening entails.

To help you make the right decision, we’ve created a list of everything you need to understand about teeth whitening.

What is Teeth Whitening and What is it For?

As its name entails, it is the process of making the teeth white.

There are basically two ways to whiten teeth, broken down in the industry as:

(a) In office whitening, and
(b) At home whitening.

With proper professional guidance, both treatments are equally effective. They only vary in the duration of time it takes for them to take effect.

Regular, home teeth whitening kits come in different forms: gels, toothpastes, and sometimes even strips.

Most of these bleaching agents are peroxide-based.

Toothpastes, of course, are over-the-counter (except for the specialty kind that you can get from your dental care professional) and take the longest time to show results.

Weak brands also have minimal results. Aside from toothpastes, tray-based whiteners are another common method. Trays are custom-tailored by your dentist.

A mold is set to create a mouth-guard like tray that shall hold the whitening gel in place. It should be worn for several hours.

Depending on the severity of the teeth discoloration as well as the efficacy of the bleaching agent, the results can be seen after about 4 weeks.

In-office teeth whitening, on the other hand, means going into the dentist’s office for the actual treatment.

Unlike home kits, treatments done at the dentist’s office are often done in one session. That is, of course, depending on the degree of teeth discoloration.

The whitening bleach is applied directly to the surface of the teeth and subjected to some degree of heat (from a lamp or laser device). In about half an hour to an hour into the treatment, results can already be seen.

What are the risks and side effects?

When done with dentist’s supervision, teeth whitening both in the office and at home is generally safe.

The main and perhaps only side effect of teeth whitening is a certain degree of sensitivity immediately after treatment.

Both treatments are not recommended for people who are:

  • Pregnant
  • Have irreversible teeth staining
  • Have permanently damaged teeth
  • Have severe teeth sensitivity

How long does teeth whitening treatment last?

Like anything else, teeth whitening is not permanent.

People who frequently drink coffee, tea, red wine, and smoke often experience discoloration again.

Poor maintenance and infrequent dental checkups can also affect the color of the teeth. It is also not something that you can do again and again.

At best, it will make your teeth look unrealistically white, worst, it can thin out the enamel of the teeth which can lead to brittleness.

For high quality teeth whitening in San Diego and Chula Vista, head on over to Irresistible Smiles! Our Zoom Teeth Whitening system is as effective as it is quick. Contact us today at (858) 755-8993 in San Diego or (619) 656-6785 in Chula Vista to set up an appointment!


Four Reasons to Consider a Teeth Whitening Treatment Now

Teeth whitening can be an effective way to bring back the natural white color of your teeth.

It works best when discoloration is external — caused by foods and smoking, instead of genetic factors or an illness — and slight.

In a teeth whitening treatment, there are several ways to brighten your teeth to a shade lighter without removing the tooth surface.

They are broadly classified into two categories:

In-office Teeth Whitening:

It is another name for professional tooth whitening at a dental office. It is likely the most preferred method for three reasons:

(a) It is effective.

It is not unusual for dentists to guarantee improvement before treatment.

On top of it, improvements can last for years; it all depends on how well you take care of your teeth.

(b) It is safer.

The chances of accidental damage to the enamel are close to zero.

Even if an issue springs up, your dentist is the most qualified person to handle it.

Most dentists carry out tooth sensitivity tests before treatment.

(c) It is fast.

You may not need more than one visit to notice the difference. Under ideal conditions, dentists can brighten your teeth up to 10 shades in less than 60 minutes.

In-home Teeth Whitening:

There are many over-the-counter tooth whitening toothpastes that are increasingly becoming popular because they are less costly and easier to use.

Whitening strips are a second popular method used in in-home teeth whitening treatments.

Other popular methods include paint-on tooth gels, mouth rays with gels, and whitening gums.

Though a number of commercially available products are safe to use, it is best to speak to a dentist if you have oral concerns.

Your dentist can help you choose a safe, comfortable, and effective at-home treatment.


There are undeniable benefits of white teeth, irrespective of whether you have brightened them at home or consulted a dentist.

Here are four of them:

Social Capital:

White teeth can help with social capital.

A survey by the American Association of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) mentions that nearly everyone — 99.7 percent adults — in the U.S. believes that a beautiful smile, of which white teeth are the most important part, is a social asset.

It is like your reputation in your community or your credit score with a credit agency.


A shade less than three quarters — 74 percent — of people in the U.S. feel that an unattractive smile can hurt a person’s career.

It is not hard to imagine a scenario, where yellow teeth can cost you a job.

Faced with the choice of two applicants who are equal in all respects but smile, whom do you think the interviewer is more likely to hire?

Dating Life:

Another revelation from the AACD survey was that 96 percent adults in the U.S. think a prettier smile can make you more attractive to members of the opposite sex.

A child’s deciduous (first) teeth are whiter than an adult’s.

White teeth in an adult exude youthfulness, thereby making the person more appealing to others.

Oral Health:

People who pay for a teeth whitening treatment tend to take better care of their teeth, just to keep them looking good for long.

Regular brushing, flossing, and trips to the dentist become a part of their dental hygiene. This work improves overall oral health.

These are the main benefits of whitened teeth. If you want to know more, contact us immediately. We offer a qualified dental team for teeth whitening treatment. You can contact us by calling (858) 755-8993 for our San Diego office or (619) 656-6785 for our Chula Vista location.