September 7, 2022
Anthony Krystopher

4 Things to Remember about Professional Teeth Whitening and DIY Kits

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September 7, 2022

4 Things to Remember about Professional Teeth Whitening and DIY Kits

Anthony Krystopher

With our summer smile whitening promotion in full swing, now is a good time to dispel any misunderstanding you may have about the reality of DIY whitening kits and professional whitening kits such as Boutique Whitening.

More recently there are whitening kits available to purchase in shops and over the internet which are approved (or even made) by dentists, such as Crest and HiSmile. While these dentist-approved kits may offer lower risks and greater rewards compared to other DIY kits, the fact these kits would be done by yourself and not a dental professional is still something poses a risk of long-term damage.

This article looks into do-it-yourself and professional whitening products to understand the pros and cons of each. It’s difficult to inform you what your personal experience will look like for DIY whitening as this would vary based on the provider, but first let's go over what the standard journey would look like for a professional whitening treatment at our practices.

  • First, your dentist will conduct an assessment. They'll make sure you’re in good dental health and suitable for professional whitening treatments. This is the key part of the process you’ll miss out on if you take the DIY whitening route, so if you do choose to do the treatment at home, please consider a dental health check-up first at the very least.

  • Once approved, your dentist will take an impression of your teeth and send it to the Boutique Whitening laboratory, where your bespoke whitening trays will be created for a perfect fit. The tailored tray is another important part of the in-practice process, the tray will be as unique as your smile so the gel gets to all the edges and surfaces without leakage.

  • When your trays are delivered, your dentist will show you how to use the whitening syringes, advise you on how long to wear the trays and answer any questions you may have. This means you’ll have any worries addressed immediately, with guidance which reduces the risk.

You’ll also be informed of how whitening can be maintained after treatment, like changes in diet, refills for future whitening top-ups, or what to do if you have crowns, veneers or composite. The entire treatment experience is tailored around you.

1) Underlying dental health problems are less likely to be identified

As a form of dental treatment, it’s advised that teeth whitening is done by a dentist. Someone who has an understanding of a product's effect on your teeth and gums and an understanding of your current dental health.

You may have underlying dental health concerns which should be addressed before a whitening treatment.

For example, if you have healthy gums, side effects from whitening chemicals are generally minor (if at all) and disappear quickly, but if you have active gum disease, the chemicals in whitening gels can cause gum reactions such as redness, swelling and pain - therefore, noticing and treating the disease is the priority.

Not doing so means this and other underlying issues may go unnoticed. Even gum disease, which commonly presents with bleeding gums, can occasionally present no symptoms at all. These hidden issues may be allowed to worsen.

Even dentists need to see a dentist, so we’d encourage you not to take this risk.

2) What concentration of gel is right for you?

In the UK, teeth whitening is regulated as a cosmetic product, which means it must fall in line with the UK and EU Cosmetic Regulations - these regulations stipulate that the hydrogen peroxide in professional teeth whitening gels cannot exceed 6% strength, as expressed by the Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety in the European legislation found here:

“The SCCS considers that the use of tooth whitening or bleaching products containing more than 0.1% and up to 6% of hydrogen peroxide present or released from other compounds or mixtures in these products may be safe…”

Dentists use peroxides which are monitored strictly, maximising benefits and minimising the risks. If you allow people with no knowledge of chemistry or dentistry to work with chemicals in your mouth, this poses risks such as chemical burns and scarring. You wouldn't ask an electrician for a pedicure.

If you’re better suited to weaker or stronger concentrations, this is the kind of conversation you can have with your clinician, whereas with DIY kits you’re on your own.

3) Results may be subject to exaggeration

The lightest naturally occurring tooth shade is classified as B1 - you may have seen phrases like “B1 guaranteed” or “Achieve vita shade B1” if you’ve ever looked into Professional whitening products yourself. Companies like Boutique Whitening are required to responsibly market the results of their product.

But smaller independent sellers may not stick to the same regulations. As such their promotional imagery showing before and after photos may exceed this B1 shade by quite a margin due to editing software.

This could also extend to influencer endorsements on social media - It’s no secret that filters and editing software go hand-in-hand with social media.

This could mean you try to achieve an unrealistic shade in line with edited after-photos, maybe even repeating the whitening process without recommendations or supervision from a professional. The thing is - you might have already achieved teeth of a vita B1 shade, and anything after this is just causing damage to your teeth for little to no effect.

In contrast, it’s standard practice for a dentist who provides professional whitening to have a portfolio of their work - these images are often physical photographs, taken by themselves and not adjusted, providing a more realistic representation.

Keep this in mind and please exercise caution with potentially unrealistic representations on the internet.

It’s important to remember that if you take the professional route for teeth whitening, there's a better chance you’ll achieve the desired colour with supervision, whereas you don’t have much control over the whiteness you achieve with DIY kits.

4) Consistent results

Because a consultation cannot be done for online or store-bought products, nothing can be measured and fitted to your mouth, gums or teeth.

So if you’ve purchased a DIY whitening kit which uses generic trays you fill with the gel, the chances of one of these moulds being a perfect fit for you is highly unlikely, because every mouth is different.

This means the ill-fitting trays could injure your gums if you wear the tray for extended periods, and the edges are digging into your gums and cheeks.

It also means any whitening serum you place inside the tray can leak out, essentially wasting your time and money in exchange for poor results.

If you opt for DIY whitening strips to avoid this, you’re only whitening the front teeth, which can give an uneven appearance whenever you open your mouth.

Trays used in professional whitening are designed to fit your teeth and gums so that the whitening gel gets applied to all teeth evenly, as well as ensuring the gels don’t leak out.


At Smart Dental Care, we offer Boutique Professional Whitening treatment, so if whitening is a treatment you were hoping to have in future, allow one of our dentists to fill you with the confidence you deserve. Book online today or call us on 0161 820 3477 to schedule your appointment.

Additionally, you can book a free, virtual consultation with a treatment coordinator here.

Don’t forget, you catch up with Smart Dental Care on our social media channels Instagram and Facebook for patient updates, promotional offers and dental hygiene tips.