The main difference between over-the-counter whitening kits and professionally dispensed products is in the mode of application and concentration of the whitening gels used. Professionally dispensed gels are of a higher concentration and deliver a more predictable and noticeable result.
In-office whitening is the most effective, safest and fastest method. Your teeth can be whitened within 1 hour and the effects are almost immediate.
Some people may prefer to whiten their teeth in the comfort of their home. In such cases, the patient can opt for “take-home” teeth whitening procedure whereby a prescription-strength gel kit is provided by the dentist. The gel-filled tray may be worn at home for 1-2 hours a day for 14-21 consecutive days to see whitening results.
Another option, which is less expensive, is the over-the-counter whitening kit. At-home teeth whitening results are typically not as satisfactory as those achieved with in-office whitening.
Many types of toothpaste come with whitening properties. Toothpaste whitening is an inexpensive but relatively ineffective whitening option.