Getting teeth whitening is possibly one of the most common dental treatments. Statistics show that close to 90% of people would love to get whiter teeth and display a perfect, sparkling smile. That’s probably the reason why store-bought whitening products are so popular. Buying and using dental products at home is a great solution to improve your smile, (and, with it, your confidence). However, there’s a lot more to the process than simply applying solutions on your teeth and letting them work. Should you visit an expert dentist and ask about professional dental whitening procedures, you’ll learn about smaller details. Paying careful attention to these nuances can make a world of difference in your looks. Read ahead to understand more about how that works:

Teeth Whitening Procedures Can be of Different Types

Teeth whitening procedures depend on the kind of staining you have. For instance, if the stains affect only the outer enamel, they’re called extrinsic stains and are easily removed. However, if the discolorations extend below the enamel, that’s called intrinsic stains. Opting for professional dental whitening ensures that you use the appropriate processes so you can get lasting results. Expert dentists work with you to understand your objectives for getting the treatment. You’ll also receive recommendations on the right whitening liquids to use.

Can Anyone Get Teeth Whitening?

To begin with, it is important to understand that while dental whitening is a common cosmetic dentistry procedure, not everyone can safely go for it. When you schedule an appointment with the oral care practitioner at our Calgary clinic, she’ll ask you a series of questions. A thorough examination will also reveal the extent of the damage. Accordingly, the dentist will come up with a treatment program that works best for you. For instance:

  • If you’re aged 18 years and younger, the dentist may recommend that you wait. That’s because, at this age, the enamel is highly porous and the teeth have more dental pulp. Using chemicals can do more harm than good since they can cause tooth sensitivity and irritate the pulp.
  • Some patients don’t tolerate bleaching agents like hydrogen peroxide very well. If your tissues are sensitive, it is advisable that you go for alternatives like carbamide peroxide that is not as strong as hydrogen peroxide. This kind of dental whitening is easily done at home. You’ll pour the liquid into bleaching trays and wear them for the recommended time.
  • In case you have intrinsic staining, conventional whitening procedures may not be for you. The dentist might suggest that you opt for treatments that will conceal the damage instead of repairing it. If bleaching agents don’t work, you might have to go for dental crowns, veneers, or crowns.
  • Dentists typically advise pregnant and lactating patients to delay getting any non-essential dental treatment.
  • Oftentimes, patients are allergic to hydrogen peroxide and cannot get professional dental whitening. If you’re not sure that you could have an allergic reaction, the oral practitioner will likely conduct a test and suggest alternatives.

Dental Whitening Treatments Can be Combined with Restorative Procedures

Before signing you up for professional dental whitening, the dentist will likely examine your teeth for other imperfections. In case you need restorative dental procedures, you may have to complete them before getting teeth brightening solutions. For instance, if you have receding gums or need Invisalign braces, you’ll complete the course before the final touches that will restore the sparkle to your smile.

Do keep in mind that if you have dental crowns or veneers, surface polishing is sufficient to restore their coloring. But, if you’re wearing dentures, teeth whitening cannot be done. Your dentist can advise you best on how to restore their coloring. Further, aging teeth usually become more transparent and seem discolored. This factor is especially true in the case of the front teeth. Thinning teeth need veneers to restore their brightness and sparkle.

You’ll Come in for Multiple Appointments for the Complete Teeth Brightening Procedure

Typically, professional dental whitening procedures may take up to three to four weeks to complete. Of course, this time frame also depends on how deep is the discoloration. You can also expect to get better results than with over-the-counter dental whitening kits. Some procedures may involve a few in-clinic appointments. Afterward, the dentist may direct you to complete the treatment on your own using professional at-home kits. These kits include a tray created after taking an impression of your teeth. You’ll also receive the appropriate whitening liquid that you can safely use at home.

At the first appointment, you can talk about the expected cost and work out an easy payment plan with the dentist. Know that dental insurance usually does not cover cosmetic procedures. You can buy over-the-counter products for around $40 to $100. And, using professional-recommended kits may cost you from $100 to $400. If you opt to get the treatment done at a dental clinic, it could cost you approximately $650.

Do keep in mind that the costs of getting teeth whitening might vary according to the location where you’re getting treatment and the particular practitioner. The kind of products used, skill levels of the dentist, and the number of sessions you need will also factor in the final bill you pay.

Working with a Teeth Whitening Professional is Advisable

While getting professional dental whitening costs you a bit more, it is advisable to make the investment. That’s because your dentist has the necessary expertise to prevent the bleaching agents from coming into contact with the gum tissues. Strong bleaching agents can injure the gum area if not used with care. Dental clinics also have the necessary equipment so that the procedure is done without any problems. You can expect that each appointment could take you around 60 to 90 minutes. Do plan your schedule accordingly.

Oftentimes, patients have only a single discolored tooth even after getting a root canal procedure. If the tooth seems purple, gray, or blackened, that’s a sign that the tooth is dead. In that case, the dentist will reopen the root and repair the problem before working on the appearance. In place of teeth whitening, you might have to get a crown or veneer.

First Appointment – Prepping Your Dental Structure

  1. When you’re ready to get started, the dentist will create a record of the present shade of the teeth.
  2. She’ll take an impression of your dental structure and place an order for a customized tray that fits the teeth perfectly.
  3. Using special dental pumice, the dentist will polish your teeth. This step helps to scrub off the plaque and any other deposits on the surface. In case you’re wondering, pumice is a grainy material that dentists use to polish your teeth.
  4. If needed, you might have to get extensive teeth cleaning and scaling to remove plaque and tartar from all the tiny spaces. Plaque creates a barrier on your teeth and prevents the whitening products from reaching the enamel and working on it properly.

Second Appointment – Applying the Bleaching Agent

  1. The dentist will place gauze around the teeth and gums to separate them from the tissues of the inner cheeks and lips. If needed, retractors are fitted to keep the tongue away also.
  2. A rubber shield or gel is applied to the gums to prevent the bleaching liquid from coming into contact with the softer tissues. You’ll also receive a moisturizer to apply on your lips and protect the delicate skin.
  3. Next, the whitening agent is poured into the customized tray and readied for application. Hydrogen peroxide is the active ingredient in the liquid, but depending on your needs, carbamide peroxide can also be used. The oxygen in the solution works on the enamel of your teeth so they appear whiter and brighter. Since you’re getting treatment under the supervision of a dentist, you’ll use the 15 to 43% strength of the liquid. Store-bought products have a lower strength liquid of 5 to 14% only.
  4. Typically, patients wear the tray for about 30 to 60 minutes. Depending on the particular brand of whitening liquid, you may need reapplication after a specific interval. Some solutions may also need curing light or lasers to activate the peroxide and get better results.
  5. The dentist now rinses out the teeth properly.
  6. The final step involves having a layer of fluoride applied to the teeth. This coating prevents the possibility of tooth sensitivity. That’s a common but minor side effect of getting teeth whitening.

Third Appointment – Additional Applications

The number of appointments you’ll need will depend on the final shade you’re looking for. At the final sitting, the dentist will prescribe a whitening product that you can continue to use at home. Following the directions of the doctor at the professional dental whitening clinic, you’ll apply the liquid for about 30 to 60 minutes over the next two to four weeks. In recent times, various advanced products are available. You can keep them on for around eight hours and they’ll give you faster results.

When you come in for the final appointment, the dentist will advise you on how to take care of your teeth. As long as you follow the guidelines, you can avoid getting staining and maintain the effects of the treatment. With the proper precautions, it is possible for the treatment to last you for at least 3 years. For the first 24 hours, make sure that you don’t eat or drink any foods that have strong coloring agents. These agents could be natural or artificial like say, in coffee, tea, tomato juice, and red wine. Foods like black grapes, yellow mustard, beets, and candy can also stain your teeth. Lifestyle habits like chewing tobacco or smoking cause damage to your overall health and not just your looks.

Let’s Talk About the Side Effects

In addition to the possibility of sensitivity, patients might sense a little discomfort in the gums. Irritation or soreness in the throat is also one of the side effects. In rare cases, patients develop white patches along the gum line. These signs are typically temporary and you’ll find that they disappear a few days after the professional dental whitening appointment. If you continue to see the effects, do let your dentist know and ask for directions.

Using store-bought whitening products do work, but they could be more acidic or abrasive in nature and cause side-effects. Before trying them, it is advisable that you check with a professional oral care practitioner. She’ll make sure you can safely tolerate the products. Remember to keep proper intervals between each whitening session. You risk sensitivity and damage to the nerves with overuse.

Do Teeth Whitening Procedures Work?

If you opt for professional dental whitening, expect that your teeth can get three to eight shades lighter. Each session may take around 30 to 60, and you’ll likely come in for more appointments. Talk to your dentist about the most advanced options that work in a shorter time frame. For instance, the Zoom technique that can give you visible results within a single appointment that lasts around two hours. Such options can cost you more, for instance, from $500 to $1,000. But if you’re short of time, you could consider signing up for them.

Ready to Schedule an Appointment?

The first steps for a radiant, brilliant smile and new-found confidence is a visit to the dental clinic in Calgary. Spend some time talking to our expert practitioner, Dr. Jennifer Silver. After a quick examination, she’ll give you the best advice that will help you get the smile you’ve always dreamed of having. Go ahead and call us at this number: (403) 253-1248. A team member is available to answer your questions. If you would have us respond by email, put down your query on the Contact Us page and we’ll get back to you soon.


  1. How Professional Teeth Whitening Is Done
  2. In-Office Teeth Whitening: Professional Advantages, Costs, and Options
  3. Whitening: 5 Things to Know About Getting a Brighter Smile

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calgary dentist jen silver

Dr. Jennifer Silver is one of the top dental surgeons practicing in Calgary, Alberta using an innovative multi-disciplinary approach to helping her patients. She believes in offering expert advice and make recommendations to patients just as she would to a family member. Dr. Silver collaborates with a large network of specialists and taps into their expertise to provide holistic care.

Dr. Jennifer Silver has earned a Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from the University of Melbourne, Australia. Her academic qualifications include deans honours list, an oral surgery award and best research project. Before attaining this degree, she graduated with honors from Dalhousie University’s Dental Hygiene Program and worked in the sphere of dentistry for 10 years. Dr. Silver is currently helping patients with dental issues such as TMJ pain and sleep apnea in addition to dentistry. She is keenly interested in constantly upgrading her skills and hopes to gain additional training in oral surgery in the future.