How is Professional In-Office Teeth Whitening Done?

woman getting teeth whitening
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Professional teeth whitening delivers optimum whitening results in a short amount of time. Available under the supervision of a dentist, this method of tooth whitening is gaining popularity, despite the fact that it is considered the most expensive method of chemically whitening your teeth.

What to Expect with In-Office Teeth Whitening 

You may expect the following during your professional in-office teeth whitening appointment:

  • Teeth are polished with pumice, a grainy material used to remove any plaque on the surface of the tooth.
  • Your mouth will be isolated with gauze to keep your teeth dry during the procedure. Retractors may also be used to keep your cheeks, lips and tongue away from the whitening solution.
  • A barrier is placed along your gumline to protect it from the tooth whitening solution.
  • The teeth are then coated with the whitening solution on the front surface of the tooth. Your office may choose to use either hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide as the bleaching agent. Many whitening products require a curing light or laser to be used to add heat to the solution to activate the peroxide. It will then be left on the teeth for 30 to 60 minutes, or reapplied in specific increments of time for up to one hour, depending on the brand.
  • Once the optimum shade has been reached, or the maximum application time has passed, the teeth are rinsed with water and a fluoride application may be used to help ease the sensitivity some people experience with tooth whitening.
  • You will be instructed to avoid foods and beverages that have a high level of pigment, such as coffee, tomato sauce or juice, yellow mustard, or red wine, and tobacco use for 24 hours after the procedure to allow the enamel pores to close to prevent re-staining.

Professional Take-Home Teeth Whitening Kits

An alternative to in-office teeth whitening is professional take home teeth whitening kits.

As it sounds, take home teeth whitening kits allow the individual to perform the tooth-whitening process at home, rather than in a dentist's office. Take-home teeth whitening kits are typically less expensive than in-office teeth whitening, although the results may not be of the same quality. 

Professional take-home teeth whitening kits available from your dentist contain a high concentration of hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide and provide excellent results in 1 to 2 weeks of prescribed use. Custom-fit trays keep the whitening solution on the surface of the tooth to be whitened, and allow for only slight exposure of the solution to the sensitive gingival area. The cost of take-home whitening is considerably lower than in-office whitening.


British Dental Health Foundation. "Tooth Whitening FAQ."

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