Professional vs. OTC Teeth Whitening By Alex Hecht on October 15, 2021

Professional teeth whitening treatmentWhen considering the ideal smile, tooth color is often one of the first things to come to mind. Most people wish their smiles were brighter and whiter. Many over-the-counter (OTC) teeth whitening products promise to enhance tooth color, but how do they compare to professional teeth whitening?

Drs. Alex and Jason Hecht of Staten Island Aesthetic & Implant Dentist offer professional teeth whitening to erase surface stains and lighten tooth color. Here we go over some of the key differences regarding professional vs. OTC teeth whitening and explain why our Staten Island, NY, patients may want to consider the benefits of our in-office teeth whitening treatment.

Over-the-Counter Teeth Whitening Products

There is a wide variety of teeth whitening products available for sale over the counter. OTC teeth whitening comes in the form of toothpastes, mouthwashes, whitening strips, and whitening trays. The exact use of these products varies, but most are intended to be used for an extended period, with the promise that dental stains will gradually lighten and overall tooth color will gradually improve.

OTC Teeth Whitening Results

OTC teeth whitening products contain bleaching agents like hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide penetrates tooth enamel to break down the molecules that cause stains and discoloration. For safety reasons, the concentration of hydrogen peroxide (and other bleaching agents) in OTC teeth whitening products is low. Because of this, OTC teeth whitening results are limited. After using a product for several weeks as directed, most people can expect the color of their teeth to brighten by one or two shades. Due to the limited results, OTC teeth whitening products are most effective at maintaining the results of professional teeth whitening treatment.

Risks of OTC Teeth Whitening

Although OTC teeth whitening products are not especially strong, there are some risks for our Staten Island patients to consider before use. Any concentration of bleaching agents can be harsh on the teeth and gums. If OTC products are not used exactly as directed or applied incorrectly, they can increase tooth sensitivity and soft tissue irritation.

Professional Teeth Whitening Treatment

Professional teeth whitening treatment uses high concentrations of bleaching agents to break down and lift away surface stains while brightening the color of tooth enamel. During a professional teeth whitening treatment, the whitening product is carefully applied to the teeth. The teeth are then exposed to a special dental light that activates the bleaching agents. Patients sit under this light for approximately 15 minutes. After this, a new layer of whitening gel is applied and the series is repeated. One teeth whitening treatment generally consists of three to four cycles so that treatment lasts between 45 and 60 minutes.

Professional Teeth Whitening Results

Because bleaching products used for an in-office teeth whitening treatment are professional strength, they offer fast and dramatic results. After just one professional teeth whitening treatment, our Staten Island patients can erase surface stains and enhance the color of the teeth by up to eight shades.

Benefits of Professional Teeth Whitening

Professional teeth whitening is one of the most affordable cosmetic dentistry treatments, and it provides highly effective results. Additional benefits of professional teeth whitening include:

  • Virtually no risk of soft tissue irritation
  • Minimal to no treatment side effects
  • Fast treatment 
  • Instant results
  • Customizable to meet each person’s unique needs

Contact Us


If you want to enjoy a brighter, whiter smile, it is time to consider the benefits of professional teeth whitening. To learn more about the teeth whitening treatments offered at Staten Island Aesthetic & Implant Dentist, contact our dental practice online or call (718) 705-4434 at your earliest convenience.

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Dr. Alex Hecht and Dr. Jason Hecht

Staten Island Aesthetic & Implant Dentist

Our family-run practice, led by Dr. Alex Hecht and Dr. Jason Hecht, is guided by compassionate and genuine care for our patients. Several distinctions set us apart:

  • Creating beautiful smiles since 1978
  • One of the largest practices in the region
  • Excellence in treating even the most complex cases
  • Advanced cone beam computed tomography (CT) scanner
  • Dedication to continuing education
  • Incorporation of the latest techniques

To set up a consultation or learn more about our services, reach out to our office online or call (718) 705-4434.

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