Beyond the Toothpaste: Exploring Professional and DIY Teeth Whitening

Different paths to achieving whiter teeth: A comparative assessment of approaches and risk evaluation

The age old question for our team at Kooringal and one that deserves an informed answer is whether at home teeth whitening treatments are as effective as getting a professional treatment carried out by our team. As dental experts, we understand the value of a bright, dazzling smile in boosting confidence and transforming your overall appearance. It is important to acknowledge the impact of various factors such as ageing, consumption of certain foods and beverages, smoking, and inadequate oral hygiene, which can contribute to tooth stains and discoloration over time. Fortunately, with remarkable advancements in dental technology, teeth whitening has emerged as a popular and accessible solution, enabling individuals to restore their radiant smiles and embrace newfound self-assurance.

Now, the pivotal question arises: Which approach yields the best and safest results — seeking a professional teeth whitening treatment or opting for at-home methods? Join us as we delve into these options to help you decide.

Addressing the fundamental question: Can yellow teeth be whitened?


There are a range of techniques that can restore the natural whiteness of yellow or discoloured teeth. These include professional teeth whitening treatments administered by experienced dentists, as well as take-home whitening trays expertly provided by dental professionals. Then there are the DIY at home remedies which we will explore further on.

It’s important to note that the number of treatment sessions or the intensity required to achieve the desired results may vary depending on the extent of discoloration and underlying factors affecting your teeth.

What Causes Teeth Discolouration?

Teeth can become discoloured due to a variety of factors, including:

  1. Dietary Choices: Consumption of certain foods and beverages such as coffee, tea, red wine, berries, and pigmented sauces can gradually stain the enamel, leading to discoloration.
  2. Tobacco Usage: Both smoking and chewing tobacco can contribute to the development of yellow or brown stains on the teeth.
  3. Inadequate Oral Hygiene: Insufficient brushing, flossing, and regular dental care can result in the buildup of plaque and tartar, which can cause tooth discoloration over time.
  4. Ageing: As we age, the outer layer of tooth enamel naturally wears down, revealing the underlying yellowish dentin, which can give the appearance of discoloration.
  5. Medications: Certain medications, including specific antibiotics (such as tetracycline), antihistamines, and high blood pressure medications, can cause teeth discoloration as a side effect.
  6. Dental Trauma: Injuries or trauma to the teeth, such as accidents or impacts, can damage the tooth structure and lead to discoloration.
  7. Genetic Factors: Some individuals may have a genetic predisposition to naturally darker or more yellowish teeth.

Understanding the underlying causes of tooth discoloration is essential in determining appropriate preventive measures and selecting the most suitable treatment options for achieving a brighter and more vibrant smile.

The Winning Treatment Option: Which Approach Prevails?

Determining the ideal teeth whitening treatment is a subjective endeavour, tailored to your specific needs and personal preferences. It is crucial to carefully consider the advantages and considerations of both in-chair and take-home teeth whitening methods.

In-Chair Teeth Whitening: Instant Results Under Professional Supervision

The in-chair teeth whitening method offers numerous advantages, including immediate results and the expert guidance of dental professionals throughout the procedure.

During an in-chair teeth whitening session, a potent bleaching gel is meticulously applied to the teeth, often accompanied by specialised light or laser technology to enhance the whitening process. Generally, the entire treatment duration ranges from approximately one to two hours, and multiple sessions may be recommended to achieve the desired outcomes.

Take-Home Teeth Whitening Kits:

Take-Home teeth whitening kits offer a practical and budget-friendly option compared to traditional in-chair treatments. These kits include custom-fitted trays and a high-quality bleaching gel, exclusively designed for home use under the guidance of your dentist.

While take-home kits may require a longer duration to achieve visible results in comparison to in-chair treatments, they provide the flexibility of whitening your teeth at your preferred convenience and within the comforts of your own home. This approach is particularly well-suited for individuals with sensitive teeth, who may value the gentle and gradual whitening process offered by these kits.

How Do I Whiten My Teeth At Home?

If you prefer the convenience of whitening your teeth in the cosy confines of your own home, a take-home whitening kit with custom dental trays and a whitening gel can be the perfect solution. Your dentist will provide you with detailed instructions on how to apply the whitening gel to achieve optimal results.

While at-home teeth whitening kits may require more time to achieve noticeable outcomes compared to the immediate effects of in-practice whitening, the unparalleled convenience they offer is worth it. Simply wear your whitening trays for a few hours during the day or overnight, making it a hassle-free option to brighten your smile at your own pace and within the comfort of your own home.

Evaluating the Viability and Safety of DIY Teeth Whitening Methods

As dental professionals, we must address the wide range of DIY products available in the market, promising instant results and a radiant smile. However, it is imperative to approach these products with caution and sound judgement.

It is important to acknowledge that many of these DIY teeth whitening methods, while seemingly convenient and cost-effective, can yield subpar results or even pose potential harm and risks to your oral health.

Opting for non-professional teeth whitening treatments carries an elevated risk of adverse effects, including potential damage to the tooth enamel, gum irritation, and inadequate whitening results. Moreover, attempting to address discoloration without professional guidance may inadvertently worsen the condition.

Understanding the Potential Risks Associated with At-Home DIY Teeth Whitening

DIY teeth whitening treatments can carry several risks, including:

  1. Tooth Sensitivity: Some at-home whitening products can cause tooth sensitivity, resulting in discomfort when consuming hot or cold foods and beverages.
  2. Gum Irritation: Improper application or ill-fitting trays can lead to gum irritation and inflammation, causing discomfort and potential damage to the gum tissue.
  3. Uneven Results: Without professional guidance, there is a risk of achieving uneven or patchy whitening results, as the application process may not be consistent or tailored to individual tooth characteristics.
  4. Enamel Damage: Excessive or prolonged use of certain DIY whitening products may damage tooth enamel, leading to increased tooth sensitivity and a higher susceptibility to tooth decay.

While methods like lemon juice, baking soda, or charcoal may appear enticing due to their accessibility and cost-effectiveness, it is essential to recognize the significant risks they pose to your oral health. Let’s take a closer look at the potential dangers associated with these DIY approaches.

Lemon juice, known for its high acidity, can erode tooth enamel over time, leading to tooth sensitivity and an increased susceptibility to cavities. Improper or excessive use of baking soda and charcoal can also harm the enamel and irritate the gums, jeopardising the overall health of your teeth and gums.

Choosing non-professional teeth whitening treatments comes with an elevated risk of adverse effects, including potential damage to both teeth and gums. In fact, these methods may even worsen the existing discoloration. Consequently, the safest and most effective approach is undoubtedly seeking professional teeth whitening services from your trusted dentist.

How Much is Teeth Whitening in Australia?

The cost of teeth whitening can vary based on the chosen method.

In-chair teeth whitening treatments conducted by dental professionals usually range from $600 to $1,000, depending on the complexity and the desired level of whitening.

On the other hand, take-home teeth whitening kits are generally more affordable, with an average price range of $300 to $400. Please note that these figures are approximate and may vary depending on individual dental practices and geographical locations.

Is Teeth Whitening Covered by Medicare in Australia?

Typically, teeth whitening falls under the category of a cosmetic procedure rather than a medical one, which means it is usually not covered by Medicare. However, it is worth noting that some private health insurance policies may provide coverage for teeth whitening services. To determine if your insurance provider offers any potential coverage for teeth whitening, it is recommended to contact them directly for clarification.

How Long Does Professional Teeth Whitening Last?

The duration of teeth whitening results can vary depending on individual factors such as oral hygiene habits, dietary choices, and lifestyle behaviours. Typically, professional teeth whitening effects can last for several months to a year or even longer.

To prolong the longevity of your whitened teeth, it is crucial to prioritise good oral hygiene practices, limit the consumption of staining substances like coffee or red wine, and follow any recommended touch-up treatments as advised by your dentist.

For more details regarding teeth whitening options and other offerings available at Kooringal, visit our treatments page.

*The photo in this article is for illustrative purposes only*


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