Professional Whitening: Your Questions Answered


Your smile is often the first thing that others notice about you. Perhaps it’s not surprising that professional whitening is one of the most common dental procedures across the country. If your teeth are stained or discolored, you may feel self-conscious when meeting new people. Or, you might find that you’re hiding your teeth while you’re smiling or laughing.

Whether you want to make a great first impression or simply want to feel more comfortable with your smile, professional whitening is the best way to remove stubborn stains and discoloration. Not only are professional treatments quick and painless, but they are also incredibly effective, with dramatic and long-lasting effects.

Ready to learn more about how in-office whitening treatment works? Below, we’ll answer some of the most common questions that dental patients have when considering a professional whitening treatment.

Should I get an over-the-counter whitening treatment?

Over-the-counter whitening treatments are popular choices, largely due to their widespread availability and affordability. If you have minimal or light staining, an over-the-counter treatment may be effective to lift your stains.

However, stains that have built up over a long period of time can be tricky to remove at home. This is because at-home kits contain lower concentrations of active ingredients when compared to an in-office treatment. And since over-the-counter gels and strips aren’t as strong, you may need to purchase multiple treatments in order to remove your stains.

It’s worth mentioning that some studies have suggested that these over-the-counter kits can actually damage your teeth. The hydrogen peroxide in whitening strips may actually harm the dentin that rests underneath your enamel. If you do choose to try an over-the-counter product, make sure that the product has been accepted by the ADA, and follow the directions to ensure that you do not damage your teeth.

What should I expect from a professional whitening treatment?

At Valley Dental Care, your professional whitening treatment will start with an oral exam to ensure that your teeth and gums are healthy. If your gums are not healthy, professional whitening treatment may not be right for you. Our in-office whitening procedure takes approximately one hour, and results are visible immediately. We’ll first put a protective shield over your gums and then apply a concentrated bleaching gel to your teeth. In some cases, we may also use a light or a laser to accentuate the whitening process.

If you prefer to whiten your teeth at home, we can create a customized whitening kit for you to take with you. We’ll make a customized tray based on a mold of your teeth and send you home with instructions. Keep in mind that, while still effective, it may take up to two weeks for you to see your best results from at-home whitening.

Are there any side effects from professional whitening?

Whether you choose in-office or at-home, a professional whitening treatment is safe, comfortable, and long-lasting. Some patients may experience sensitivity in their teeth or their gums directly after their whitening treatment. If you experience sensitivity that lasts for longer than three days, give the office a call and we’ll help you schedule a follow-up appointment to discuss your symptoms.

Teeth discoloration and staining can stem from a variety of factors, such as your diet, medications, and lifestyle. But that doesn’t mean that you have to live with those stains forever! Call Valley Dental Care to learn more about your professional whitening treatment options. We’d be happy to discuss your whitening treatment options and help you keep your smile bright, white, and healthy!