With so many whitening options to choose from, it can be overwhelming to choose the right one for you. We have broken it down for you below to help you make the right decision.

Custom Tray Teeth Whitening

This is the most common type of whitening, and includes customized trays made to fit only your mouth. The trays are made from impressions we take of your teeth. Strength of the whitening gel (usually carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide) varies depending on your needs. It is usually10%, 15% or 20%. These trays are typically worn for 1 hour per day for two weeks duration.

ZOOM!® Teeth Whitening

ZOOM! whitening is an in-office type of concentrated whitening where you sit under a light that activates the whitening gel. Although this visit takes 2 hours, it will give you a noticeably whiter smile right away (vs the 2 weeks of custom tray whitening). Because the results are so immediate (many patients get 5-10 shades lighter), this is quickly becoming a very popular option. The downside of this option is that it is the most expensive.

Over the Counter Whitening Options


These are an inexpensive option to give you a quick “refresher” to your smile. This comes in a small bottle with a brush and you “paint” the whitening material onto the fronts of your teeth. Unfortunately, because the whitening gel does not stay in contact with the tooth for very long (the lips and saliva quickly remove the gel), this option provides poor results.


Whitening strips can also be purchased over the counter. They are a less expensive version of the custom trays listed above (think over the counter pain medication vs prescription strength). The concentration of bleaching material is less, and the strips are not custom fit. If you have straight teeth, this option will lighten your teeth a shade or two, usually. If you have very crooked teeth, the strips may not adapt well and will provide minimal improvement.


The least expensive option for whitening is whitening toothpaste or mouthwashes. Typically, these products provide poor results because the hydrogen peroxide does not stay in contact with the teeth for very long. Many whitening toothpastes also contain abrasive ingredients that scrub the teeth (removes superficial surface stain) instead of actual bleaching ingredients.

If you would like to learn more about teeth whitening, please contact our practice at (740) 548-0575 to schedule an appointment.

Cosmetic Dentistry