Professional Cleaning and Whitening Services
Most dental offices offer professional whitening. Prior to whitening, an examination and professional cleaning should be completed. Any cavities (decay) are treated first in order to prevent the bleaching solution from further damaging sensitive teeth and gums.
The dentist usually uses bleaching trays similar to the over-the-counter versions that you can purchase. The main difference here is that trays at the dentist's office will be customized for your unique dental needs and fitted to your mouth by the dental hygienist and/or dental assistant, who will also monitor your teeth and gums for any irritation.
After the trays have been inserted in your mouth, the dental professional will advise you to the length of time they will be placed on your teeth. The exact time may vary and the number of times applied will depend on the brand and formulation. Some offices have televisions available so that you can relax while you wait. Many practices also allow you to take the trays home to perform the procedure by yourself in the comfort of your own home.
While professional bleaching gives the quickest and most dramatic results, it is often the most expensive method. Inquire with your dental insurance provider whether it is covered. To maintain your new smile, follow up with a whitening toothpaste after using either professional or over-the-counter bleaching products.