In-office Power Whitening vs At-home Tray Whitening

Power whitening in the dental office utilizes a high concentration of whitening agent, usually hydrogen peroxide. The procedure can include light technology (photopolymerization) - or not. It usually takes about an hour in the dental chair. Even though the application of light appears to give faster results, there is currently some debate in the dental community about whether or not the light actually makes a difference in the end result

The obvious benefit of power whitening (such as Zoom whitening) is that the effects are immediate and often dramatic. You'll have whiter teeth in one day, well actually in one hour. If speed is what you're after, then this might the tooth whitening method for you. There are also some disadvantages to take into consideration before making your decision.

  • In the long run, power whitening doesn't produce whiter teeth any more than at-home tray whitening. It just takes less time, but the end result is the same.
  • It's costly ($300-700 on average).
  • the whitening effect fades a bit more, as compared to tray whitening, especially if light is applied along with the tooth bleach.
  • Power whitening can cause more sensitivity to teeth and gums than other procedures, because of the high percentage of the tooth whitening agent. If you have sensitive gums and/or teeth, then power whitening is not a good option for you.
  • With power whitening you have less control over how much your teeth whiten, as compared to tray bleaching methods. And yes, it is possible to get teeth too white in that one hour. Sometimes power whitened teeth appear unnaturally white, or even see-through. With at-home tooth whitening with custom trays, the bleaching effects tend to be more gradual (3-7 days on average). You get to be in control of the whitening procedure and how many shades your teeth lighten up.