When it comes to teeth whitening, people can go down two routes. They can either go the do-it-yourself way and buy a home teeth whitening kit or get a professional teeth whitening treatment in a dentist’s office.

While some people have been able to get good results from a home whitening product, the potential for getting adverse effects due to improper application are numerous. Unless you are a dentist yourself, it’s best to leave teeth whitening to professionals—like us at the Shallowford Family Dental Group!

How does teeth whitening work?

To understand why it’s best to get a dentist to do your teeth whitening procedure, it’s crucial to know how the process works. 

The first thing to know is that every teeth whitening procedure involves peroxide-based cleaning agents. Most DIY home whitening products will contain around 3 to 20% carbamide or hydrogen peroxide, while the product that dentists use can have anywhere between 15 to 43%. 

The basic process is simple: apply the tooth whitening gel on your teeth and let it stay for a certain period. Products with a lower concentration of peroxide-based bleaching agents will take more time than those with higher doses. This means that if you want to hasten the process, you can use products with a higher percentage of peroxide cleaners.  

The dangers of DIY teeth whitening

In teeth whitening, timing is essential. While it’s crucial to let the peroxide-cleaners do their job, it’s vital to know when to wash them away. Leaving the weaker solution of peroxide on your teeth can dehydrate it, which causes tooth sensitivity. The longer the patient leaves the tooth whitening product on their teeth, the higher the risk of developing sensitivity and experiencing pain when eating certain food types. 

It’s much easier to underestimate the damage that DIY teeth whitening can do. Because home teeth whitening products can react slower, patients may be tempted to leave the product on their teeth for longer than necessary. 

Having only a little knowledge of it can be a dangerous thing, as risks can often be underestimated—which is why nothing beats visiting a dentist near you. Dentists have a better view of your teeth and have far superior knowledge when it comes to the intricacies of teeth whitening. 

What are the benefits of professional teeth whitening?

When a dentist performs a teeth whitening procedure, they rarely ever go straight to the procedure at hand. Every dentist visit starts with a cursory checkup of your overall oral health. This means that in addition to teeth whitening, your dentist will ensure that any plaque or tartar build-up is removed,  all cavities are cleaned and filled, and that your gums are healthy. When it comes to actual teeth whitening, dentists take every precaution to ensure that you don’t suffer any sensitivity and other unintended side effects. 

Professional teeth whitening also works faster than DIY teeth whitening. Besides the stronger peroxide solution and a competent dentist’s watchful eye, specialized equipment is used to speed up the process. 

That being said, the mileage may vary between cases. Some people may do well with a single two-hour visit, while others may need to do several 30 to 60-minute office visits to achieve their desired results. This depends on the patient’s teeth’ exact condition and how “white” the patients want their teeth to be. 


The most obvious downside of professional teeth whitening conducted by a dentist is the cost. While a professional whitening procedure may set you back as much as $500, home kits can be had at around $25 to $100. That being said, if you want surefire results and would rather do away with the potential for increased sensitivity, it’s best to leave teeth whitening to the dentist!

If you’re looking for a family dentist in Chattanooga that can handle teeth whitening, then Shallowford Family Dental has you covered! Aside from teeth whitening procedures, our services include veneers, dental implants, tooth extractions, root canals, and more! Contact us today and start your journey to better, whiter teeth with us!

Contact Us

Contact us online and we'll get back to you as soon as possible! Thanks!

Not readable? Change text. captcha txt