In Chair Vs Take-Home Whitening

Written by Dr. Reuben Sim
Published: 22-01-2022

In-chair whitening versus take-home whitening kit. What are the differences, and what are the pros and cons? We’ve been doing take-home whitening kits and in-chair whitening treatment for our patients hundreds of times, and we know all the pros and the cons. I’m gonna share them with you so that when you see your dentist there’s no confusion with which one’s better for you, and you can make an informed decision moving forwards.


When we do take-home whitening kit, we liken it to enrolling yourself in a gym. When you go to the gym, you sign up for a program, for example, and when you sign up for a program you might have the best intentions to begin with. You might attend the first session, second, third, even up to maybe the fifth session. And suddenly you fall ill for that week and don’t end up going, and then you lose the momentum and you don’t end up going for the fifth or the sixth or the seventh session. Then you lose interest, and you end up burning your gym membership, and you might cancel it in the end.

Now, when you do take-home whitening kits, it’s quite similar. You have to actually be very disciplined with using it every day at home. And sometimes, with the gel you have and the tray that the professional would give you, you might have to use it for up to between two to four weeks to get a good result. With that being said, if you do miss on certain days you still can get a result. The thing is that it actually creates a little bit of lag behind the project, and also creates less effectiveness at the end when you whiten your teeth.

The advantage of doing a take-home whitening kit, however, is that it’s less sensitive compared to the in-chair whitening treatment. With the take-home kit, for example, you need to be very disciplined, but the result that you get could be quite good still in the end. But you need to do it for about three to eight hours a day. That means that you have to have the discipline and the time management to actually do it by yourself. So if you’re time poor, and if you think that you’re too busy, your lifestyle’s too hectic, this may not be something for you.

The in-chair treatment involves applying some gel on your teeth, using LED light with a blue spectrum, and you can sit in the chair for 60 minutes and get a good result. Within 60 minutes to 80 minutes you get the same result in two to four weeks with the take-home kit! However, your teeth might get more sensitive compared to the take-home kit because, while it’s speedy, we use stronger gel to get that really good result. So if you’re busy and you’re brave enough to withstand the sensitivity, I think our in-chair teeth-whitening kit would be good for you.

Based on our experience in the practice here, 50% or 60% of our patients, when they do the in-chair whitening they will actually sometimes fall asleep on the chair. The remaining 20-30% might get some slight sensitivity, but maybe five percent might get a little bit more intense sensitivity during that 24hour period. So that’s something you need to be aware of when you do the in-chair treatment.

Based on these two here, you know what the pros and the cons are, and hopefully when you see your dentist in the future you get to discuss this with them and find out what’s the best solution for you. In most cases, a combination treatment might be a good way to go, where we do some in-chair whitening treatment, and then you maintain it using a take-home over a period of 6-12 months, doing it maybe two, three times a day. That will give you a longer-lasting result moving forwards.