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How Long Does Teeth Whitening Take at the Dentist?

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A female patient sitting back in a dental chair, looking at her whitened teeth in a small hand mirror

Your dentist can offer a range of procedures to help you achieve your ideal smile. From routine cleanings to more complex treatments, we aim to ensure you leave our office feeling confident and healthy.

One popular procedure is teeth whitening, which can help to brighten and rejuvenate your smile. Depending on the system used, teeth whitening at your dentist can take just over an hour, including prep time.

Teeth Whitening: What is it?

Teeth whitening is a cosmetic dental procedure that helps lighten the colour of your teeth. Over time, your teeth can become stained and discoloured due to various factors, such as smoking, drinking coffee or red wine, or simply aging. Teeth whitening is a generally safe and effective way to remove stains and improve the appearance of your teeth.

Several teeth whitening options exist, including some that you can do from home. While they’re typically not as powerful as those used in a dentist’s office, they may help

At-home teeth whitening products include:

  • Whitening Toothpaste: Whitening toothpaste contains abrasive particles that help to remove surface stains from your teeth. While it won’t change the natural colour of your teeth, it may help to brighten your smile over time.
  • Whitening Strips: Whitening strips are thin, flexible strips coated with a peroxide-based whitening gel. You apply the strips to your teeth for a specified amount of time, usually 30 minutes to an hour, and then remove them.
  • Whitening Trays: Whitening trays are custom-fitted trays that you fill with a peroxide-based whitening gel and wear for a specified time. You typically wear the trays for several hours daily or overnight; results may be seen in a few weeks.

While at-home teeth whitening may be effective, only use these products as directed to minimize the risk of sensitivity and damage to your teeth and gums. It’s also a good idea to talk to your dentist before using any at-home teeth whitening products to ensure they’re safe and appropriate for your teeth.

Why Do Teeth Become Stained?

There are many reasons why teeth become stained. Some of the most common include:

  • Smoking or using tobacco products
  • Drinking coffee, tea, red wine, or other dark-coloured beverages
  • Eating foods that are high in pigments, such as berries or tomato sauce
  • A diet high in simple sugars
  • Taking certain medications, such as tetracycline antibiotics
  • Aging

While many instances of tooth discolouration are purely cosmetic, some can indicate a deeper issue, such as tooth decay. A dentist should always do a consultation before attempting teeth whitening to uncover the cause of any staining.

A woman smiling and pointing to her newly whitened teeth

How Does In-Office Teeth Whitening Work?

Compared to at-home treatments, dentists can use higher concentrations of hydrogen peroxide and high-tech instruments to get the whitening gel to penetrate below your enamel.

Since stains can occur both outside (extrinsic) and inside (intrinsic) a tooth, a whitening procedure needs to reach past the enamel, the thin outside layer of your teeth, to be most effective.

You usually need a chemical reaction involving hydrogen peroxide to reduce intrinsic stains. Depending on the type of stain, hydrogen peroxide can penetrate through the enamel and interact with the coloured compounds within, effectively bleaching them.

Some procedures, such as the Zoom Teeth Whitening System, use an LED light to help patients achieve a whiter smile. In this case, we use a special peroxide-containing whitening gel applied to your teeth with gum blockers to protect your lips and gums. We then use a high-intensity LED light that helps to activate the gel and break down the stains on and in your teeth.

A typical Zoom whitening session typically takes about two hours to complete. This includes applications of the LED light of about 15 minutes each.

Benefits of Zoom Teeth Whitening

There are many benefits to using the Zoom Teeth Whitening System to whiten your teeth. Some of the most notable ones include:

  • Quick and easy: The Zoom system can be completed in as little as one visit, so you’ll have a brighter smile in no time.
  • Less sensitivity: The chemicals used in teeth whitening may cause sensitivity in the gums and teeth, though Zoom tends to cause this less.
  • Long-lasting results: With proper care and maintenance, the results can last up to a year.

Time For Your Teeth To Shine

Teeth whitening is a popular cosmetic dental procedure that many people find gives them the confidence to smile. At Rockwood Dental in Calgary, we’re happy to use the Zoom Teeth Whitening System to help our patients rejuvenate their smiles in as little as one visit.

If you’re interested in teeth whitening or any other dental procedure, please don’t hesitate to contact us and schedule a consultation. We’re here to help you achieve your ideal smile!

Written by Rockwood Dental

At Rockwood Dental, our goal is to help you achieve the healthy and beautiful smile you’ve always dreamed of.

Our team is committed to providing a personalized dental experience from beginning to end. To do this, we offer a range of dental services, including preventative dental care, restorative dental care, and cosmetic dental care.

Rockwood Dental is located at #102, 1032 17th ave., between 9th and 10th Street SW in Calgary.

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