Teeth Whitening vs. Dental Cleanings Which is Right for You?

September 12, 20230



A bright, dazzling smile can boost your confidence and leave a lasting impression. Two popular methods to achieve a radiant smile are teeth whitening and dental cleanings. However, these procedures serve different purposes and cater to distinct dental needs. In this blog post, we will explore the differences between teeth whitening and dental cleanings, helping you decide which is right for you based on your circumstances and goals.


  1. Understanding Teeth Whitening


Teeth Whitening 


Teeth whitening is a cosmetic dental procedure designed to enhance the appearance of your teeth by lightening their color. It is particularly effective in removing stains caused by tobacco, coffee, tea, red wine, and certain foods. Teeth whitening can be performed either professionally by a dentist or at home using over-the-counter products.


Professional Teeth Whitening


Professional teeth whitening is often considered the most effective and safest method. It involves a visit to your dentist’s office, where they use a higher concentration of whitening agents than over-the-counter products. The process typically includes the following steps:


Assessment: Your dentist will examine your teeth and discuss your expectations to determine if teeth whitening is suitable for you.


Protection: To shield your gums and soft tissues from the whitening gel, a protective barrier or gel is applied.


Application: The dentist will apply a high-concentration hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide gel to your teeth.


Activation: Some professional whitening methods use a particular light or laser to activate the whitening gel and accelerate the process.


Monitoring: The dentist will monitor the progress of the treatment and may reapply the gel as needed.


Final results: After the treatment is completed, you will notice a significant improvement in the color of your teeth.


Home Teeth Whitening


Over-the-counter teeth whitening products, such as whitening strips, trays, or toothpaste, are available for home use. These products have a lower concentration of whitening agents compared to professional treatments, which means results may be less dramatic and take longer to achieve. Home teeth whitening can be an option if you prefer a more budget-friendly approach.


  1. Understanding Dental Cleanings


Dental Cleanings

Dental cleanings, also known as dental prophylaxis or professional cleanings, are preventive dental procedures aimed at maintaining your oral health. These cleanings are typically performed by dental hygienists or dentists and involve a thorough cleaning of your teeth and gums. Here’s what you can expect during a dental cleaning:


Plaque and Tartar Removal: The dental professional will use specialized tools to remove plaque and tartar (hardened plaque) from your teeth. This step helps prevent tooth decay and gum disease.


Polishing: After plaque and tartar removal, your teeth will be polished to remove surface stains and make them feel smoother.


Flossing: The dental hygienist will floss your teeth to ensure all debris and plaque between your teeth are removed.


Fluoride Treatment: In some cases, a fluoride treatment may be applied to strengthen your tooth enamel and reduce the risk of cavities.


Teeth Whitening vs. Dental Cleanings: Which is Right for You?


Now that we understand the purposes and processes of teeth whitening and dental cleanings, let’s delve into the factors that can help you determine which option is right for you.


Dental Health Needs

If your primary concern is maintaining good oral health, preventing cavities, and reducing the risk of gum disease, dental cleanings are the ideal choice. Regular cleanings help remove plaque and tartar buildup that can lead to dental issues. On the other hand, if your main goal is to enhance the appearance of your teeth by removing stains and achieving a whiter smile, teeth whitening is the better option.


Dental Stains

Consider the nature of the stains on your teeth. Teeth whitening is effective for extrinsic stains caused by external factors like food and beverages. If your teeth are discolored due to intrinsic factors, such as genetics or medications, teeth whitening may not provide the desired results. Dental cleanings, however, can help remove surface stains and improve the overall appearance of your teeth.



Teeth whitening options vary in cost. Professional whitening at a dental office is typically more expensive than over-the-counter home whitening products. Dental cleanings, on the other hand, are a preventive measure that is often covered by dental insurance. Consider your budget when deciding between the two procedures.


Time and Convenience

Professional teeth whitening at a dental office usually provides quicker results, often in a single visit. In contrast, home teeth whitening may take several weeks to achieve noticeable results. Dental cleanings are typically faster and require less time than teeth whitening procedures.


Long-Term Goals

Think about your long-term dental goals. If you’re primarily interested in maintaining a healthy smile and preventing dental issues, dental cleanings should be a routine part of your oral care. If you’re looking for a short-term solution to improve the aesthetics of your teeth, teeth whitening may be more appropriate.


Consultation with a Dentist

The best way to determine which option is right for you is to consult a dentist. A dental professional can assess your oral health, discuss your goals, and recommend the most suitable treatment plan tailored to your individual needs.




Teeth whitening and dental cleanings serve distinct purposes in maintaining and enhancing your smile. The choice between the two depends on your specific dental needs, budget, time constraints, and long-term goals. Whether you opt for teeth whitening to achieve a radiant smile or dental cleanings to prioritize your oral health, regular visits to your dentist are crucial in ensuring your teeth remain healthy and beautiful for years to come. Remember that a consultation with a dental professional will help you make an informed decision and achieve the results you desire for your dental care journey.


Ready to take the first step toward a healthier, brighter smile? Book your appointment with Westbrook Family Dental today! Our experienced team is here to provide you with top-notch dental care in a comfortable and welcoming environment.


📞 Call us at (07) 4529 7477 to schedule your appointment.


You can also visit our website at www.westbrookdental.com.au/teeth-whitening/ to learn more about our services, meet our friendly staff, and conveniently book your appointment online.


Don’t wait any longer to prioritize your oral health. Join our Westbrook Family Dental family, where your smile is our priority!


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