What Type of Teeth Whitening is Right for You?

A smiling woman who has undergone teeth whitening

If you’re thinking of giving your pearly whites a fresh look with a teeth whitening treatment, you’re probably not sure where to start. Are strips better than gels? Will gels make my teeth sensitive? Can I use trays that aren’t custom-made to fit my mouth? We’re here to answer any of your questions!

Over-the-Counter Teeth Whitening Strips and Gels

Teeth whitening strips that you get at a grocery store can cause sensitivity issues and aren’t often as effective as treatments from your dentist. Strips are less messy and less of a hassle to wear, but they probably won’t whiten your teeth as many shades as a gel or professional strips. However, teeth whitening strips are great for maintenance, or lightening your teeth just a few shades.

Over-the-Counter gels are usually not as strong as professional gels. Most of these are peroxide based, but are weaker solutions than those that your dentist can supply. They also aren’t custom-made to fit your mouth, so the results can be spotty or even nonexistent, depending on the size and shape of your mouth.

Professional Teeth Whitening Strips

Professional whitening strips are a great hassle-free method to give your teeth some extra dazzle. You can get these from your dentist, who will give you careful instructions on proper use. You’ll take the strips with you and use them in the comfort of your own home at a time that’s most convenient for you. Professional whitening strips tend to be the most affordable professional whitening treatment available.

Professional Teeth Whitening Gels

There are a variety of gels on the market. Professional teeth whitening gels from your dentist are peroxide based, but often stronger than over-the-counter methods. Your dentist will make a mold of your teeth to create custom-made trays to fit your mouth, like a mouthguard. This means that you get optimum coverage of your teeth while protecting your gums from making contact with the gel. Professional gels are generally worn overnight, though some need only a few hours.

Additional Benefits of Professional Whitening

Not only are professional whitening methods more effective, but they are also closely monitored by your dentist! Dr. Gallagher can perform an oral exam to ensure that your whitening treatments are going smoothly. You’ll also get more effective results because of the protection that your dentist can provide to the rest of your mouth, allowing for the use of a more concentrated solution.


If you consume beverages that stain your teeth like coffee, wine, or soda, consider some of the following to maintain your bright, new smile for longer.

  • Whitening toothpastes
  • Whitening rinses
  • Brushing after every meal (3 times daily)
  • Drink more water

Want a new smile? Contact Dr. Gallagher for an appointment or read more about whitening treatments at Overland Park Family Dental!