Our last blog post helped illustrate how teeth become discoloured over time, and offered suggestions on how to counteract some of the most stain-inducing foods and drinks out there.

This post will help you navigate the different whitening options available to you after you have decided you want to up the shine factor of your smile.

Dentists typically offer two professional, safe, and gentle approaches to tooth whitening: take home kits and in office treatment.

  1. Take-home kit: a custom fit tray is made in-office, and the office provides the professionally designed gels that you take home, apply to the trays, and wear for a few minutes to a few hours over the course of a few weeks until you obtain the results you are happy with.
  2. In-office: Your initial visit involves a proper diagnosis and vetting to make sure you are a good candidate for teeth whitening. Your second visit lasts approximately 90 minutes in the chair, where you dentist will isolate your teeth before applying the much stronger and more powerful gel, often triggering the process with laser or special lighting.

The table below illustrates the main similarities and differences between your two choices:

  Take home In office
Looks like
Active ingredient Peroxide Peroxide
Strength Mild Strong
Results Brighter whiter teeth Brighter whiter teeth
Length of time A number of weeks, depending on desired change and frequency wearing Often, just one 90 minute visit
Costs $$ $$$
Safety Relatively safe as long as you follow the instructions. Done in a controlled setting, less risk of damage to surrounding tissues, more controlled results, can stop treatment if you experience any discomfort or sensitivity.


While over the counter whitening strips and/or toothpastes are a tempting way to DIY, dentists often do not recommend them. Their ingredients can be uncontrolled and may lead to abrasion of the teeth causing sensitivity.

To hear Dr. Hatamian speak to the professional whitening services he offers, watch the video.

Take-home kit versus in-office teeth whitening treatments

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