Teeth Whitening Strips Vs. Going to the Dentist: Which is your best bet?

Have you started to notice that your smile is not as white as it once was? If so, you have likely considered pursuing some solutions that are more effective than a simple whitening toothpaste. But, how do you know if you should buy teeth whitening strips vs. going to the dentist?

On one hand, you want an effective solution that you only have to do a few times before you see results. However, you also want to get the most bang for your buck and not waste time and money by making an expensive visit to the dentist. Is it worth spending the extra money to visit the dentist? Is teeth whitening at home safe? Here, we will go over the pros and cons of teeth whitening strips vs. going to the dentist so you can determine which avenue is right for you.

Teeth Whitening Strips Vs. Dentist Comparison

Teeth Whitening Strips

  • Cost-friendly
  • Takes multiple treatments
  • Convenient for your schedule
  • Can lead to teeth sensitivity

Dental Office Whitening

  • Expensive
  • Can be done in one day
  • Must make an appointment with the dentist
  • Less sensitivity issues


home comfort

Buying whitening strips at the store and taking them home to use is more convenient than making several appointments to go to the dentist. At home, you can whiten your teeth at your convenience in the morning and at night while you are doing other things around the house.

While it typically only takes one visit to the dentist to whiten teeth, it may be inconvenient to find a chunk of time during the week to make an appointment at the convenience of the dental office. This may require taking some vacation time from work or missing another commitment.

Ease of Use

Because teeth whitening at the dentist office is very controlled, it is easier for the patient. In-office whitening is done under carefully monitored conditions that allow for the safe and effective whitening of teeth.

Alternatively, over-the-counter products may be cumbersome to use. Here is a great video to show how whitening strips should be applied. They will also take longer to work so it is more of a time commitment, even though that time can be chosen at your convenience.

Tooth Sensitivity

Dentists use a relatively high concentration of bleaching gel and are able to control it due to thicker peroxide gels. They also use desensitizers like potassium nitrate and fluoride to help reduce the tooth sensitivity.

However, using over-the-counter whitening strips can lead to sensitivity that can be painful. Most at-home whitening strips use hydrogen peroxide, which is known to lead to tooth sensitivity. When whitening your teeth at home, it is best to be aware of the peroxide level of the product you are using and the amount of time you are leaving the strips on your teeth.

To reduce tooth sensitivity as a result of whitening your teeth, try some ​tooth sensitivity relief strips​. These can especially help people who are more prone to sensitivity.


In-office whitening treatments are more expensive than their take-home alternatives. On average, it costs about $650, while over-the-counter products are under $100.

When shopping for over-the-counter whitening strips, you can find many options that range from generic strips that are very inexpensive to more heavy-duty strips that are a bit more expensive. However, none of them come close to the price of going to the dentist.


You will likely get better results in a shorter amount of time by going to the dentist than by using whitening strips at home. This is because the bleaching agents that the dentists use are more powerful than those that are sold over the counter. These results also happen much faster than if you were to do your whitening at home.

However, these results do come at a price. While both methods will produce noticeable results, it is important to determine what price you are willing to pay for exactly what degree of whitening.

How long do the results last?

Neither option is a permanent solution. After having a whitening completed at the dentist, the patient is often given an at-home treatment to follow up with so the results are maximized. However, after time, the teeth will become discolored again.

The results are also temporary with at-home whitening strips. However, because these are less expensive, it is more realistic to most people to repeat the process of using whitestrips than it is to go to the dentist on a regular basis for a whitening treatment.


While whitening your teeth at the dentist may be faster and more effective, it is much more expensive than doing it at home. Both options produce results that can be noticed, so the option that is better for you depends on your budget and the level of whitening you want to achieve.

It is important to remember that whiteners can not correct all types of discoloration, so it is best to speak to your dentist before spending money on any form of tooth whitening. For example, while yellow teeth typically bleach well, brown teeth are not likely to respond as well. Furthermore, gray teeth may not bleach at all. Additionally, whitening is not effective on caps, crowns, veneers, or fillings. Whitening is also not effective if the tooth discoloration is a result of side effects from medications or a tooth injury.

What has been your experience with whitening your teeth? Comment with how you have whitened your teeth in the past or if you have any additional questions regarding tooth whitening!

​Looking for more? Read about the Nano Intensive Whitening Strips

Aurora is the lead editor here at pearlywhytes.com. She is one of those people who actually likes going to the dentist. She loves to write about anything health related, but oral health is her most passionate topic. Her free time is spent partaking in family activities and experimenting in the kitchen.

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