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Professional Teeth Whitening Explained

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Many people these days aren't happy with their smile unless their teeth are bright pearly white. Taking care with what you eat and avoiding foods that stain helps keep your teeth looking good, as does avoiding too much acid that can damage the enamel. But to really get white teeth, you might need a bit of extra help.

There are plenty of products available you can try at home, from simple whitening toothpaste to more complex treatments that require dedication and a bit of patience. However, many of the most effective whitening treatments are the ones carried out by a professional – especially if you want permanently white teeth without the need for constant upkeep. Here are some of the more common options.


This is the most common option, and generally what most people are referring to when they talk about professional teeth whitening.

The bleach is applied to your teeth in the form of a gel, but first, the dentist will make an impression of your mouth so they can make a custom mouthguard. This ensures that the whitening gel is contained safely and that it can remain in contact with your teeth for as long as possible. It also protects your gums from getting too much of the gel on them, which can cause irritation.

The whitening process takes time and numerous applications but can lighten your teeth by several shades. You'll need to have them whitened again from time to time, especially if you're a smoker or you drink coffee, tea or red wine.

Laser whitening

The laser tooth whitening treatment uses the same type of gel as standard bleaching, but it's administered differently, and sometimes has a higher concentration of peroxide.

After applying the gel to teeth, a laser is used to heat up and activate it. This not only cuts down the treatment time by causing it to work faster, it also increases its effectiveness.


Unlike other whitening treatments, using veneers doesn't actually whiten your existing teeth. Instead, thin porcelain covers are permanently fixed over your teeth, enhancing their appearance.

Veneers aren't just used for improving the colour of teeth – they can also help with uneven, chipped or cracked teeth. They're sometimes compared to a false fingernail, because of the way they fit over teeth, but they do require a little bit of enamel to be removed before they're fixed in place.

If you have veneers, they'll last a long time as long as they're cared for properly, but you do need to exercise a bit of caution when eating and carrying out certain activities.