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Teeth Whitening Services Step by Step

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In-office dental bleaching

How does in-office teeth whitening work?

Not all procedures are created equal and there are some variations amongst different procedures. We are going to describe the main steps below, and we will explain the differences in the next sections.

All in-office teeth whitening procedures follow a somewhat standard routine. A trained tech will:

•    Take a shade measurement of your teeth before the procedure begins.

    o   Shade measurement aims to compare your existing tooth color to a shade with a stylized chart.

    o    This provides a benchmark to gauge improvement after teeth whitening.

    o    Once this (benchmark) has been determined, the whitening process will take place.

•    Place a cheek retractor to expose all the teeth that are visible when you smile.
•    Cover your eyes, gums, and lips, to protect them from the bleaching gel.

    o    A hardening resin or a liquid rubber dam is used and painted over the gums. Without protection, your gums may get burnt from the high concentrations of bleaching agents.
    o    The tips of the gums between the teeth will also be protected from the gel.
    o    Finally, only your teeth will be exposed. This process may take up to 10 minutes.

•    Apply a special whitening gel to your teeth.

    o    The gel releases an active ingredient (hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide), once in the mouth.
    o    Teeth bleaching will take place in three to four 15-20 minutes sessions.

•    Remove the previous layer during each session.

•    Assess the degree of teeth whitening to gauge whether the procedure should be repeated or not.
•    Apply more whitening gel if necessary.
•    Remove your cheek retractors so that you can rinse your mouth.
•    Take your final teeth shade.


Temporary dehydration of your teeth may enhance the immediate postoperative result.


•    Heat and light application may initially increase whitening due to greater dehydration.
•    This reverses with time and is also referred to as rebound.
•    The final color will be visible 2-6 weeks after the procedure.
•    For some whitening procedures, your tech  will expose and activate the gel during each session. He will use a special high-intensity UV light for this.
•    Let’s now talk about a topic which may be top of mind for you … number of treatments.


Patient with cheek retractors during in-office teeth whitening. Gums are protected.

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