Dental whitening: FAQ answered

Dental whitening: FAQ answered

Many dental patients often wish that their smiles were whiter. As a result of this, many patients will attempt to whiten their teeth using diet or over-the-counter toothpaste and mouthwashes.

Unfortunately, this is not always effective and can usually only whiten the teeth by about 3 shades. Which is not the desired effect if you have deep staining!

Therefore when approaching a dentist about teeth whitening Macleod, you should endeavour to ask as many questions as possible. Below are some of the most common questions that dental teams are asked about whitening by patients who wish to undertake it professionally.

How will a dentist whiten my teeth?

The most common method that dentists use to whiten teeth involves painting on a gel or bleach. The reason that this is the most commonly used method is that most people have external stains, usually brought on by diet or lifestyle choices such as smoking.

These gels are more powerful than any you can purchase over-the-counter or online and caution must be taken when they are used.

If you have deeper set stains caused by early exposure to medication or an excess of fluoride, then your dentist may try to use abrasion whitening techniques. This is less common as it can result in the thinning of the enamel and potential issues with sensitivity.

In short, the way your dentist will whiten your teeth will depend on the type of staining you have and the desired result you are seeking.

Is the process long?

With bleach based whitening, the process will usually be spread over a two-week period.

At your first appointment, your dentist will apply the first coats of the bleaching gels and use a UV light to oxidize them, thus removing the stains. At home, you may be given a set of customised fitting trays which you will need to wear overnight and apply a weaker version of these bleaches to whiten your teeth. After the 2 weeks is up you will be called back to your dental team to have the final instalment of gels applied to your teeth.

Does it heighten sensitivity?

Gels used in dental surgeries to whiten teeth often have anti-sensitivity agents built-in, so any sensitivity you do experience from the process should be temporary.

If you have sensitive teeth before undertaking whitening it may worsen but once again it should be temporary.

How long can I expect the results to last?

The results of whitening will vary; for some people, their whiter smile may last years, while others may only experience the effects for a few months.

The longevity of your whitening will depend on your lifestyle. If you smoke, it is unlikely that the effects will last as long as they would for someone who doesn’t smoke.

Does over the counter toothpaste work as well as professional whitening gels?

In a word, no.

This is because over-the-counter toothpaste does not contain the bleaching agent hydrogen peroxide at the same concentrations as the gels that are used in dental surgeries to whiten teeth.


Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.