What is Dental Bleaching?

dental bleaching

According to a study conducted by the American Association of Orthodontists, about 33% of Americans are not satisfied with their smile. Of those individuals, about half have untagged photos on social media simply because they were not happy with their smile, and 36% feel that their social life would be better if they had a better smile.

To create a winning smile, many individuals opt for dental bleaching. But what is dental bleaching? Is it the same thing as teeth whitening? If you’ve ever considered brightening your smile, you may have questions about teeth whitening and what you can do to improve the process.

What is dental bleaching?

Although some individuals refer to the process of brightening the smile and removing stains as “dental bleaching,” the phrase is a little misleading. Whitening treatments do not use actual household bleach (sodium hypochlorite) as that would be extremely dangerous and toxic.

Because the whitening power of household bleach is so well-known, it’s easy to see how teeth whitening may be referred to as “dental bleaching.” Note, however, that ADA-approved teeth whitening products and treatments do not contain actual bleach, but still, have the power to remove stains and brighten teeth. Whitening treatments gain their “bleaching” power not from bleach but hydrogen peroxide.

At home whitening systems typically contain 3-20% peroxide-based whitening agent, while the professional in-office treatments contain anywhere from 15-43% peroxide-based whitening agents.

Teeth whitening options

Once you’ve decided that teeth whitening is for you, you’ll have a few decisions to make:

  • Do you want to use at-home whitening systems?
  • Do you prefer to schedule an in-office treatment?

In-office treatments, such as the Zoom procedure, can brighten your smile in as little as 90 minutes – not too bad! Sit back and relax as your stains fade away. Remember, that in-office treatments contain more whitening power due to higher levels of peroxide-based agents so you will see quicker, more impressive results after one treatment.

At-home treatments consist of Crest White stripes or mouth trays with gel; at-home treatments are great as periodic maintenance between Zoom treatments.

Your role in the teeth whitening process

There’s nothing quite like the first time you peek at your smile after a Zoom procedure! However, there are a few things that you, as a patient, can do to help maintain the results of teeth whitening treatments.

  • Limit tooth-staining foods: If you do eat foods known to stain teeth, rinse your teeth with water after eating.
  • Drink, don’t sip!: Sipping coffee or tea allows for the beverage to linger on the surface of your teeth longer. If you can drink (rather than sip) to limit exposure.
  • Use a straw: Using a straw can also help limit staining. Caution: use a straw for cold brew coffee or iced tea; using a straw with hot beverages is not recommended.
  • Use whitening toothpaste and mouthwashes: Your dentist can recommend which one is right for you.


Are you ready for a bright smile? Contact us today to book a Zoom procedure or discuss custom at-home whitening trays.

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