At-Home Whitening Stripes Vs. Professional Teeth Whitening
At-Home Whitening Stripes Vs. Professional Teeth Whitening

Many people desire to have healthy, white teeth that dazzle others when they smile. There are a few different methods you can use to achieve this goal, but what are the differences? Should you try at-home whitening strips or schedule professional teeth whitening sessions? We’ll explore how these techniques differ and which one may be right for you.

At-Home Whitening Strips Vs. Professional Teeth Whitening

Both whitening strips and professional whitening procedures brighten your smile but accomplish this in different ways. Before you splurge on a set of at-home strips or schedule a visit, let’s take a look at how these methods work so you can decide what is best for you and your goals. As always, our helpful staff at Northern Virginia Orthodontics is available to answer your questions.

At-Home Whitening Strips

Whitening strips are the most popular method for brightening your smile at home. They are often made of flexible plastic material and a thin layer of bleaching gel. This gel, made of either hydrogen or carbamide peroxide, whitens your teeth by adhering to them and penetrating the enamel to break down the discolored molecules. Since this can be done at home, you do have the added convenience of finishing chores or lounging around for the 30 minutes or so that it takes for the product to be effective. Depending on your stain level, you may need to reapply a few days consistently to achieve your desired results. Once achieved, you should be able to reduce application to an as-needed basis to maintain your results.

The Pros And Cons of At-Home Whitening Kits

All teeth whitening methods have their unique set of pros and cons. Here is a relatively comprehensive list of pros and cons for whitening strips.


  • Convenient to do at home or on the run
  • Relatively inexpensive compared to professional procedures
  • Easy to use and readily available
  • Considered generally safe and effective if used as directed


  • Wide varying effectiveness per brand
  • May not achieve a whitening result that is even across all teeth
  • Much higher risk of tooth sensitivity
  • Much higher risk of gum irritation
  • Enamel damage from overuse

If you experience severe pain that does not go away within a few days, contact your dental provider. 

Professional Whitening Treatments

With professional in-office whitening treatments, there is more control by a professional and more immediate results. Your gums and lips are protected first, then a whitening gel is applied directly to your teeth. At NVO a GLO whitening mouthpiece is used that has a patented combination of warming heat and light technology to speed up the whitening process. This process is safe, and clinically proven, and will get you the whitening results you want without an uneven appearance. One treatment could lift your coloration by 6 levels. You’ll need fewer treatments and visits with such longer-lasting and effective methods.

The Pros and Cons of In-Office Treatments

While you’ll get some of your best results more immediately with in-office treatments, you should be aware of all potential positives and negatives. 


  • Immediate results
  • Can be done on a lunch break (45 minutes to an hour)
  • Long-lasting results
  • Done by a professional
  • Lower chance of gum irritation and tooth sensitivity


  • More expensive than over-the-counter at-home methods
  • Reduced convenience since it must be done in the office
  • Potential for tooth sensitivity

Always discuss with your dental provider the best options for you on your dental journey.

NVO and GLO Whitening  

Northern Virginia Orthodontics is the top GLO provider in the D.C. area. If you want a whiter smile, then you’ll be in great hands with our professionals. We offer a variety of treatment options that fit your lifestyle and goals.

Our in-office GLO whitening treatments have given our patients dramatically whiter teeth in under an hour with little to no pain. You’ll leave the office with a beautiful confident smile that you can’t wait to show off.

We also offer the GLO professional take-home whitening kit! This kit uses GLO technology and professional strength whitening gel so that you can achieve results from the comfort of your own home. This is a great option for maintaining your smile in between in-office treatments. You can obtain these kits exclusively through certified GLO practices like NVO.

Schedule an Appointment Today!

Ready to achieve your teeth-brightening goals? Contact us today and schedule an appointment! We’ll make sure that you receive the treatment you or your family need. Initial smile consultations are free, and we would love to see you soon.