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How Teeth Whitening Works: Your Guide To In-Office Whitening Treatments
February 16, 2019

smile before and after teeth whitening checking with dental tool

Considering the best way to reinvigorate your smile and banish surface stains? Professional, in-office teeth whitening is the most popular cosmetic dental procedure performed. Unlike home whitening systems, in-office whitening takes place under expert supervision with high-concentration bleaching gel. Professional whitening can give patients visible and lasting results immediately.


What To Expect With Professional Teeth Whitening

In-office whitening is not a complicated procedure. The procedure can take anywhere from 60 to 90 minutes to complete, and many patients can achieve their desirable shade in just one visit.

In general, the standard steps to perform a whitening treatment include:


Before Treatment

Before beginning the whitening process, your dentist will make a record of the current shade of your teeth using a dental shade guide. They will determine which sample matches best and then make a record of this value in your chart. They will also make a note of any major surface stains or areas of discoloration.

In order to have a whitening treatment performed, many dentists also recommend a professional dental cleaning. All debris, surface staining, and accumulated tartar should be removed first. While not necessarily expected, it’s conceivable that this step alone may improve the appearance of your teeth enough that a bleaching treatment isn’t needed.


Confirm How Many Teeth Will Receive Treatment

Before your whitening appointment, you should ask your dentist specifically which teeth will be whitened. As a matter of routine, they may be accustomed to bleaching only their patient’s 6 or 8 front-most teeth on the upper and lower jaw. Evaluate your biggest smile in a mirror to help determine how many teeth should be whitened and what works best for you. Then confirm the plan with your dentist.


Treatment preparations

  • Your teeth will be polished with pumice, a grainy material used to remove any plaque on the surface.
  • Your mouth will then be isolated with gauze or dental dams to keep your teeth dry. Retractors may be used to keep your cheeks, lips, and tongue out of the way of the whitening solution.
  • A barrier is placed along the gum line to further protect the sensitive tissue from exposure to the solution.
  • Your teeth will be coated with a whitening solution on the front surface only. The solution typically includes either hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide as the bleaching agent.


How Laser Teeth Whitening Works

At Hinsdale Dentistry, our top priority is patient comfort. Laser dentistry is a powerful and painless treatment method that allows our dentist to perform countless dental procedures, including laser teeth whitening. The laser energy heats the hydrogen peroxide whitening agent. This helps ensure that whitening is completed as quickly as possible, without pain or damage to the surrounding gums. With Biolase EPIC, we can complete a full whitening procedure, lightening teeth by 4-6 shades, in just 20 minutes of active treatment time. This is faster than other in-office whitening systems and allows patients to get back to daily life (with a brighter smile) as soon as possible.


What To Expect After Treatment

After a whitening treatment, you will likely be advised to avoid foods or beverages with a high level of pigmentation for at least 24 hours.

The foods and beverages to avoid after teeth whitening include:

  • Coffee
  • Dark tea
  • Tomato sauce
  • Tomato juice
  • Yellow mustard
  • Beets
  • Candy
  • Red wine
  • Smoking or chewing tobacco

Advantages of Professional Whitening

It’s no secret that the most obvious benefit of having whiter teeth is a brighter, more attractive smile. Less obvious benefits of having your teeth whitened are:

  • Better oral health
  • Stronger teeth
  • Increased gum health
  • More confidence in yourself
  • Faster results than at-home whitening
  • Customized treatments
  • Longer-lasting results
  • A more youthful appearance

Teeth whitening is nearly universally desirable but hasn’t always been possible for the full spectrum of patients. Those with sensitive, deeply stained teeth find exposure to professional-strength whitening gel painful. With the Biolase Epic Laser, we are able to catalyze whitening without causing tooth sensitivity.

For more information on what to expect during your laser teeth whitening treatment with Hinsdale Dentistry, call our office to schedule an appointment. We may also be able to help answer many of your questions over a simple phone call.


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