Teeth Whitening: Advanced Dental Techniques for Bright, White Teeth

Advanced dental techniques now provide consumers with exciting, new options for enhancing their smiles. Revolutionary methods are now available for tooth bleaching to make smiles sparkle!

Teeth bleaching or whitening lightens the color of teeth whether darkened from age, coffee, tea or tobacco. The brightening effects of teeth whiteners can last up to five years after the treatment depending on your personal habits, such as smoking or drinking coffee or tea.

Is Tooth Whitening Right for You?

Teeth bleaching has a higher than 90% success rate. It is tough on stains but gentle on your teeth! Results vary depending on several factors such as teeth stained from smoking; from taking certain medications such as tetracycline during tooth development; or from fluorosis, a condition occurring in the presence of too much fluoride.

A tooth whitener will not lighten fillings or artificial materials used in dental repair such as crowns, porcelain veneers, etc. Your dentist may discourage treatment if you have sensitive teeth, periodontal disease, teeth with worn enamel or if you're pregnant or breast-feeding.

Tooth Bleaching - Several Options Available

Some tooth whitening treatments are performed in the dental office using an in-office bleaching system, such as laser bleaching. This method lightens teeth instantly. The same results may be obtained more economically through dentist-supervised at-home tooth bleaching, but take longer to achieve. Some teeth whitening systems, which bleach your teeth while you sleep, work in 10 to 14 days (or more accurately nights)! Others bleach your teeth from two to four hours a day requiring three to six weeks to complete.

It's important to know that certain types of stains respond better to different types of whitening materials. In such cases, your dentist may recommend one tooth whitener method over the other.

Teeth Bleaching - The Steps to Bright, White Teeth

  • Your dentist will first examine your teeth and gums and discuss the procedure best suited to your individual needs. Any cavities or gum disease problems must be treated before teeth bleaching can begin.
  • The in-office method generally takes one to three hours and results in an immediate noticeable change.
  • For the at-home method, special molds will be made of your teeth. These will be used to make custom-fitted flexible trays that will hold the bleaching gel comfortably in your mouth.
  • When you get your tooth bleaching trays, you'll receive instructions about wearing them. These directions must be carefully followed. Only the materials provided by the tooth whitening dentist can be safely used.
  • After completing the treatment, your teeth will be checked by your dental provider to discuss the results.
  • Smile. Your new white teeth will radiate a bright look!


Research over the last five years has proven that teeth bleaching is both safe and effective. The American Dental Association's seal of approval has been given to a wide range of tooth whitener products. Generally, the only side effect from treatment may be some sensitivity to hot and cold foods. If this occurs, sensitivity normally disappears within 48 hours.

By Brian J. Gray, DDS, MAGD, FICO

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