two sets of hands holding professional whitening products, such as gel and trays

The Differences Between Teeth Whitening Strips and In-Office Teeth Whitening

Whitening strips and professional whitening share the goal of brightening your smile but do so in different ways. The most apparent difference between them pertains to where you receive treatment – either at home or in the dentist’s chair. However, you must consider several factors when determining which method best suits your needs.

What Are at Home Teeth Whitening Strips?

Teeth whitening strips are a prevalent method for those wishing to improve their smile. Flexible plastic material and a thin layer of bleaching gel comprise most whitening strips. The gel, typically made of either hydrogen or carbamide peroxide, adheres to your teeth, penetrates the enamel, and breaks down the discolored molecules.

As you apply the strips to your top and bottom teeth, the gel firmly presses against them and gently lifts stains while held in place by the plastic strip. Leave the whitening strips on for up to 30 minutes. Since you can buy strips nearly anywhere and wear them at home, you have the freedom to finish chores, read a book, or rest during the treatment.

The Results of Teeth Whitening Strips

Since teeth whitening strips are readily available at stores, they contain less hydrogen peroxide than other methods. Therefore, depending on how discolored your teeth were before treatment, you may need to apply the whitening strips daily for two to three weeks. Then, after you achieve the desired shade, you’ll only have to use the strips every once in a while to maintain it.

What Is Professional In-Office Teeth Whitening?

Zoom teeth whitening is one of the most popular professional treatments performed by certified dentists. Good candidates for Zoom whitening visit their dentist for the treatment. Your dentist begins treatment by covering your gums and lips, exposing only your teeth. Next, they apply the Zoom whitening gel, a 25% hydrogen peroxide solution, directly to your teeth.

A specially designed Zoom light quickens the process and, together with the gel, removes surface stains by penetrating deep into the enamel. Then, after every 15 minutes, the gel and light procedure repeats until the treatment session ends. It typically takes 45 minutes to an hour, and once complete, your dentist rinses the gel and applies a fluoride-based solution to reduce sensitivity.

Professional Whitening Results

After one treatment session, Zoom whitening results can last six months to a year with proper care. In-office whitening methods contain significantly greater amounts of hydrogen peroxide that only certified dentists can apply, so fewer visits are required to achieve your goal shade. Patients can also schedule retouch appointments during regular dental visits if they choose between whitening appointments.

professional in-office teeth whitening before and after

Pros and Cons of Teeth Whitening Strips

The advantages and disadvantages of using teeth whitening strips are as follows:


  • An inexpensive, convenient, and quick method of brightening your smile
  • Readily available for purchase in-store or online
  • Generally, an effective, safe, and convenient treatment when used as directed
  • Easy to place and remove strips
  • At-home treatment


  • Not all brands achieve the same results
  • Can cause irregular or uneven whitening if used incorrectly
  • Higher risk of tooth sensitivity
  • Strips can lose their adhesive and thus may fall off
  • Can cause enamel damage if overused
  • Higher risk for gum irritation

Pros and Cons of Philips Zoom Whitening

Philips Zoom whitening treatment also has many pros and cons to consider:


  • Immediate results (up to 8 shades brighter after the first session)
  • Whitening can last up to a year with proper care
  • A dentist completes everything for you
  • Treatment only takes 45 minutes to an hour
  • Lower risk of gum irritation and damage
  • Receive a retouching kit to maintain the white between visits


  • Costs more than over-the-counter treatments due to administration by a dental professional
  • Tooth sensitivity is common
  • You must visit the dentist to receive treatment

Receive Quality Care From Our O’Fallon, IL Dentist

At Lake Pointe Dental Group, our dental professionals provide numerous services to patients, including Zoom in-office teeth whitening in O’Fallon, IL. We’re dedicated to the patients we care for and treat each one like family. Whether you need a routine dental cleaning, root canal therapy, or emergency care, our O’Fallon family dentistry team can serve you. We’re sure you’ll leave our office with a confident smile!

Schedule an appointment with our dentists, Drs. Greiff and Bean, today to learn more about your teeth whitening and dental care options.