In-Chair Teeth Whitening vs. Take-Home Teeth Whitening

Written by Dr. Reuben Sim
Published: 23-05-2023

dental boutique teeth whiteningIn-chair teeth whitening versus take-home whitening kits: what are the differences, and what are the pros and cons?

At Dental Boutique, we offer both take-home whitening kits and in-chair whitening treatments for our patients.

Not only have we completed thousands of treatments over the years, we’ve also gathered a deep understanding of the pros and cons for each whitening treatment.

In this article, we’ll share with you the key differences so that when you see our dentists, you can make an informed decision about the best treatment for you.

Am I a candidate for teeth whitening?

At Dental Boutique, we always make sure to recommend the safest option for our patients.

Whether you’re looking at in-chair teeth whitening or using an at-home kit, your dentist will first assess whether you’re an eligible candidate for teeth whitening.

Factors that may impact whether teeth whitening is right for you include:

  • Whether you have veneers, as they cannot be whitened
  • Whether you’re a smoker and intend on continuing to smoke after your treatment
  • How sensitive your teeth are.

Before any teeth whitening is performed, we’ll also check your oral health, looking for issues like cavities or gingivitis, to make sure you don’t have any underlying health conditions.

Any pre-existing teeth or gum issues should be addressed before you embark on your teeth-whitening journey to avoid any unnecessary discomfort or irritation.

If you’re interested in learning more about the difference between cosmetic dentistry and general dentistry, you can read our blog post titled ‘What’s The Difference Between Cosmetic And General Dentistry?

If any of these factors may be relevant for you, your dentist will discuss what the best options are to achieve your smile results.

Take-home teeth whitening

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Take-home teeth whitening is a popular method of whitening teeth, and is something we get asked about a lot by our patients.

Take-home whitening is where we provide you with customised professional whitening trays that you take home along with a professional-grade whitening gel.

These gels are generally stronger and more effective than the products you may be able to purchase over the counter.

Does at-home teeth whitening work?

Using the take-home whitening kit can give you fantastic results, but it does take a little longer to get the shade you’re looking for compared to in-chair teeth whitening.

You’ll need to use your take-home teeth whitening kit every day for 30-60 minutes at a time, for up to 2 weeks to one month.

The length of time you’re required to use it will depend on how white you’d like your teeth to be and how discoloured your teeth were to begin with.

So, really, at-home teeth whitening requires much more of your discipline, patience and time management skills to get a successful result.

If you’re usually time-poor, and think your lifestyle or schedule won’t allow you to be diligent with your at-home teeth whitening, then it may not be the best treatment for you.

Are at-home teeth whitening kits safe?

A big advantage of take-home teeth whitening is that it’s generally less sensitive compared to an in-chair whitening treatment, and provides a nice, stable whitening result that is safe and effective when done correctly.

If you can maintain discipline, then it is a fantastic option to whiten your teeth at home and can last up to 6-12 months before having to re-do the treatment.

Because you already have made your own custom-made whitening trays, all you’ll need to do to further whiten your teeth is to purchase some more whitening gel!

What is the best at-home teeth whitening kit?

Patients often ask us what the best at-home teeth whitening kit is. We’ve seen time and again that the best results come from customised professional trays and professional-grade whitening gel.

At Dental Boutique, we only stock the best at-home teeth whitening kit that garners safe, effective results.

A recap of at-home teeth whitening pros and cons


  • At-home teeth whitening causes less teeth sensitivity
  • The treatment may be more cost-effective
  • Your custom teeth-whitening trays are reusable for years to come.


  • At-home teeth whitening relies on your discipline, patience and technique
  • It will take much longer to reach the results you’re looking for
  • Your teeth whitening may last up to one year.

In-chair teeth whitening

In-chair teeth whitening is a whitening treatment our dentists perform in the clinic, using a high-grade whitening gel alongside blue technology.

Compared to the take home kit, in-chair teeth whitening is a super convenient procedure and takes very little time to do. In just 60 minutes, you can achieve a result that’s 5-8 shades lighter – a result that would have taken up to a month to achieve at home!

As with all of our other dental treatments, we make your visit and experience as comfortable as possible.

When you get in-chair teeth whitening, you’ll be able to lie back in our comfortable treatment chairs and watch Netflix on TV, listening via the noise-cancelling headphones.

In-chair teeth whitening and sensitive teeth

If tooth sensitivity is also a problem for you, your Dental Boutique clinician will discuss the best options for you.

Because whitening your teeth in the clinic is essentially like condensing 2-4 weeks worth of teeth whitening in one session, you may experience some tooth sensitivity.

Based on our experience, 50% or 60% of our patients don’t experience any tooth sensitivity when undergoing in-chair teeth whitening, and sometimes they even fall asleep in the chair!

However, that does mean 20-30% might experience slight sensitivity, with only 5% or having a more intense sensitivity experience within 24 hours of their treatment.

If you’re concerned about tooth sensitivity, your dentist will be able to share ways to limit any sensitivity and ensure your experience is a pleasant one.

How long does in-chair teeth whitening last?

The answer to this common question completely depends on you and how well you maintain your pearly whites.

In-chair teeth whitening can last upwards of three years, or it can last as little as six months.

If you rely heavily on teeth-staining substances, like smoking, coffee, red wine, berries or beetroot, it will, unfortunately, impact the longevity of your whitening procedure.

Similarly, if you don’t care for your oral hygiene daily by brushing and flossing, plaque build-up will also cause discolouration.

A recap of in-chair teeth whitening pros and cons


  • In-chair teeth whitening is more convenient
  • You don’t have to worry about technique or efficacy: you’re in safe hands
  • The results are much faster than at-home options
  • Your white smile can last up to three years.


  • In-chair teeth whitening can be more expensive
  • You may experience some tooth sensitivity due to the strength of the gel used.

The takeaway

Both in-chair teeth whitening and take-home whitening are amazing ways to whiten your teeth safely.

Hopefully, this article has given you an idea of what both treatments entail, giving you a baseline understanding to further build on with your dentist.

In most cases, we find that a combined treatment using take-home and in-chair teeth whitening is the best way to go so that you can get the best of both worlds!

Please feel free to come in and discuss your teeth whitening with us, as we would love to help you reach your teeth whitening goals.

You can book a consultation with our friendly team today.