3 Options for Whitening Your Teeth

3 Options for Whitening Your Teeth

Team Teeth Whitening

Teeth whitening can brighten your smile, improving your self-confidence and outlook. Many orthodontic patients choose teeth whitening to round out their treatment, giving their newly aligned smile a brilliant appearance.

There are several methods for whitening teeth, but the three most popular options are professional in-office, at-home, and over-the-counter options. 

Professional In-Office Whitening

In-office whitening is the fastest, most thorough method available today. The dentist protects your gums and lips and applies a strong carbamide peroxide gel to the teeth. A special light activates the gel and provides extra whitening ability. 


  • Fast
  • You can lighten by many shades in one appointment


  • Costs more than other options
  • Not every patient wants dramatic, immediate results

Professional At-Home Whitening

Many patients prefer to whiten their teeth in the privacy of their home. The dentist takes digital impressions using a handheld scanner and creates custom-made whitening trays. They provide a less concentrated version of whitening gel for safe at-home use. Patients fill the custom trays with gel and wear them at the prescribed times for best results.


  • Convenient
  • Provides gradual whitening results over a few days or weeks


  • Most effective for minor stains

Over-The-Counter Whitening

Many patients opt for over-the-counter whitening products, which should be used cautiously. Not all of these products are safe. If they are too strong, they may cause chemical burns to the gums and excessive tooth sensitivity. If they are too weak, it will take months or years to achieve the results you could see in one professional treatment.

Over-the-counter whitening seems lower, but when patients add up the cost of strips and toothpaste, they may find that it costs as much as professional whitening.


  • Convenience
  • Price per treatment


  • When considering the cost to whiten multiple shades, professional whitening may be a better value
  • Not all over-the-counter whiteners are safe to use

Frequently Asked Questions About Teeth Whitening

How does teeth whitening work?

When applied to the teeth and activated, carbamide peroxide gel penetrates the enamel and whitens below the surface. The gel breaks up stains and produces a brilliant effect.

Why are my teeth yellow when I brush them every day?

As we age, the tooth's inner layer (the dentin) gradually becomes more visible. This layer is naturally yellow. You may also experience yellowing teeth if you smoke, partake in staining foods or beverages, or do not attend scheduled dental cleanings. Brushing once a day is not enough to keep teeth clean.

Call Desert Orthodontics

If you want whiter teeth, we can help you achieve your dream smile. Please call our Las Cruces, NM, office at 575-521-0900 to schedule a teeth whitening consultation today. We can show you the advantages of professional whitening and how it is safer and more effective than over-the-counter options.