How Professional Teeth Whitening Treatments Work [Cosmetic Dentist]

Teeth Whitening  San Francisco, CA

The process of teeth whitening improves the look of your smile by removing surface stains. When done by a professional, teeth whitening can remove stubborn stains as well.

Professional teeth whitening procedures can ensure a brilliant, even-colored smile. When done by a professional, teeth whitening procedures not only remove surface discoloration, but they can also get rid of stains that are hard to remove with at-home treatments. Before you go through teeth whitening treatments, you need to get the all-clear from a dentist.

Are teeth whitening treatments for everyone?

In a word, no. Some people can get teeth whitening treatments on a walk-in basis. Such people are usually in excellent oral health. Here are the conditions that a person needs to meet before they undergo teeth whitening treatment:

  • No cavities or gum disease
  • No soft-tissue injuries inside the mouth
  • No fractures or other injuries on the teeth

It is worth noting that teeth whitening treatments cannot fix intrinsic stains caused by fluoride or tetracycline. A cosmetic dentist will recommend a different course of action for this kind of stain. If a dentist clears an individual for teeth whitening, here is what they should expect.

1. In-office teeth whitening: Teeth cleaning

A common downside of at-home teeth cleaning solutions is uneven coloration. This happens when a person uses bleaching agents on teeth that have stubborn plaque on them. The result is usually a set of teeth that are dull in some spots and sparkling white in others.

With professional teeth whitening, a cosmetic dentist prepares their patient’s teeth by cleaning the teeth with dental tools. This removes every last bit of plaque from every surface of every tooth. The dentist then uses polishing paste to buff the teeth.

Once the patient’s teeth are perfectly clean, the cosmetic dentist proceeds to the next step.

2. The shade of the patient’s teeth

Using an electronic device or a palette of tooth-colored porcelain tabs, the dentist finds a shade or color that matches the patient’s teeth. This information will be useful later on when the dentist evaluates the result of the teeth whitening treatment. The dentist will also use this information to determine which teeth to target with the bleaching agent.

3. Isolation of the teeth and protection of the mouth

The active agent in teeth whitening agents is caustic, so the dentist will use a dental dam to protect the soft tissues of the face and mouth. A dental dam can take the form of a thin latex sheet, or it can be a chemical that the dentist applies in the mouth. The dentist will reinforce the dam with cheek retractors and strategically placed cotton balls.

4. Application of the bleaching agent

The cosmetic dentist will carefully apply the whitening agent onto the surfaces of individual teeth. The bleaching agent usually takes the form of a gel or a paste.

5. Activation of the bleaching agent

Not all cosmetic dentists perform this step. Some dentists activate the bleaching agent by exposing it to a bleaching light.

6. The waiting period

The patient waits for the bleaching agent to work its magic. As they wait, the dentists may add small amounts of bleaching agent every few minutes. The waiting period takes anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes.

7. Removal of the bleaching agent

The dentist will "wipe" the bleaching paste off the teeth, apply a neutralizing agent onto the teeth and rinse the mouth one final time. They will then use the "before" picture of the teeth to show the end result to the patient.

Professional teeth whitening treatments offer consistently good results

If you want a smile that is bright and even, let the professionals help. Our cosmetic dentist performs teeth whitening treatments countless times every year. Call our office to book an appointment and take advantage of our skilled and experienced dentist.

Request an appointment here: or call Aesthetic Dentistry of Noe Valley at (415) 493-9143 for an appointment in our San Francisco office.

Check out what others are saying about our dental services on Yelp: Teeth Whitening in San Francisco, CA.

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